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Cycling: Former Giro winner Danilo Di Luca banned for life

Published December 5, 2013 9:37 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rome • Former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca was banned from cycling for life Thursday following a third doping offense, joining Lance Armstrong as one of the highest profile riders to be kicked out of the sport.

The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping court issued the verdict after the 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year's Giro.

The ban matched the request from CONI's anti-doping prosecutor Tammaro Maiello. Di Luca was also fined more than $50,000.

After a hearing with the prosecutor in September, Di Luca did not deny doping, saying that the case "doesn't change much" for his fans.

Still, Di Luca could appeal to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Last year, Armstrong was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Association and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.

The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad fired Di Luca immediately after his latest positive test was announced with the Giro nearly finished.

In 2009, Di Luca was given a two-year ban after testing positive during the Giro for CERA, an advanced form of EPO. That ban was subsequently reduced by nine months after he collaborated with Italian anti-doping authorities.

And a short time after winning the 2007 Giro, Di Luca was banned for three months for frequent visits to Carlo Santuccione, a physician at the center of a four-year doping investigation titled Oil for Drugs.

Di Luca was stripped of his second-place finish and two stage wins in the 2009 Giro, which was won by Russian rider Denis Menchov.

Seemingly headed for retirement just a few months before this year's Giro, Di Luca signed with Vini Fantini in April — a week before the race began. He fared well in several stages of the Italian classic, with four top-10 finishes.

His results from this year's Giro will now be stripped.

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