The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has given former Giro d’Italia winner, Danilo Di Luca, a lifetime ban from cycling after committing a doping offence for the third time in his career earlier this year.
The 37-year-old, who won the Giro in 2007, tested positive for EPO on April 29 following a surprise visit to his home by International Cycling Union (UCI) agents.
He had previously been suspended for three months in 2007 for visiting the banned physician Carlo Santuccione and was then handed a two-year disqualification – later reduced to nine months – after testing positive for CERA, an advanced form of EPO, during the 2009 Giro.
The decision to ban him for life was taken by Coni in court on today.
A Coni statement read:
"The national anti-doping tribunal has imposed a lifetime ban on Danilo Di Luca for his violation of Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
"This takes effect from May 24, 2013, and annuls any competitive results he achieved after taking a biological test on April 29.
"The tribunal has ordered Di Luca to pay the penalty of 35,000 euros .
"He must also pay the costs of running the biological tests, calculated to be 3,150 Swiss Francs ."
Di Luca was riding in this year’s Giro, when news of his latest failed test broke.
He was immediately withdrawn from the race and later fired by the Vini Fantini – Selle Italia team, whose sports director, Luca Scinto, heavily criticised Di Luca and insisted he never wanted to sign him.
Despite his doping offences, Di Luca has been one of Italy’s most successful cyclists of the past 15 years.
He enjoyed most success at the Giro and also claimed victories in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2007, Il Lombardia in 2001 and an Amstel Gold and La Fleche Wallonne double in 2005.
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