Former Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca is ready to return to racing immediately after he received a reduction in doping ban today. Due to his collaboration, the Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) reduced his ban by nine months and seven days.

On February 1, the same tribunal banned Di Luca for two years and fined him €280,000 for doping at last year’s Giro d’Italia. Di Luca finished second overall behind Russian Denis Menchov. However, on July 22, two months later, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) revealed he tested positive for blood booster EPO-CERA twice during the Giro d’Italia.

Di Luca got off lucky in a sense since the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) had recommended a three-year ban based on his prior record. In 2007, after he won that year’s Giro d’Italia, Di Luca received a three-month ban for his involvement in the 2004 Oil for Drugs case centred around Carlo Santuccione, or ‘Ali the Chemist’.

In a thrilling Giro d’Italia final last year in Rome, Di Luca came within 41 seconds of winning the race. He came away second overall and with two stage wins: stage four on May 12 and stage 10 on May 19. His two positive controls came from blood samples taken after stage 11 on May 20 and stage 18 on May 28.

On September 23 this last month, Di Luca’s lawyers asked the TNA to re-open the case based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code for collaboration. Article 10.5.3 allows for a suspension reduction if an athlete helps investigators to uncover other violations.

The TNA had reduced other suspension based on collaboration: Riccardo Riccò’s by four months and Emanuele Sella by one year.

Di Luca, according to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, clarified questions for investigators and helped them form links in other doping raids. This year throughout Italy, there have been numerous doping raids – Mantova – Filippo Manelli, GiroBio – Bruno Leali and last month, the Cobra-Red investigation of Enrico Rossi.

With his help, Di Luca is eligible to race immediately instead of the original July 21 date and may participate in the Japan Cup on October 25. He will reportedly return to racing with the first division team of Mauro Gianetti, Geox.

Related links

July 2009: Di Luca positive for EPO at Giro

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  • Cavologuardi

    Let’s have two separate leagues: one in which the riders commit to racing clean and are tested three times a day by an independent body… and another were they are allowed to submit themselves to whatever chemistry experiment they like, they can all have Spanish gynaecologists, and even graft Shergar’s arse to their own if they really think it will give them a marginal gain… Pat McQuaid and his keystone kops at the UCI can continue ‘governing’ the latter.

    Personally, I won’t be wasting any more of my time watching these cheating tossbags… stick that in your sponsorship deal and smoke it/inject it/shove it up your arse… arrivederla pro cycling.

  • Lucas

    It seems to me the only way we will get rid of the cheats is for the race organizers to stop inviting any team that signs riders returning from bans.
    The gentlemens agreement between teams not to sign them has gone out of the window.
    If the bigest races discounted teams with returning cheats the sponsors would complain to the team ,or pull there sponsorship.
    Then the teams would be forced not to sign these guys and the problem would eventually go away.

  • Gary

    The UCI is a complete disgrace!

  • Brian

    Why those kind of news don’t amaze me anymore. Congrats Pat, looking forward the next time you will dare proclaim that Cycling is cleaner. In the mean time, I would suggest that Contador’s ban (if he is ever banned obviously) be reduced by 24 months.

  • Mike

    Not the first offence for Di Luca. Why not a lifetime ban.
    We all believe it would be just.
    What sort of muppets are running our sport.

  • bryan

    This is yet further unwanted bad news for the sport . UCI wake up and do your job. Life bans are required to stop this continuing madness showing a total lack of respect for clean riders and fans. Why has Gianetti, with his record, been allowed to stay involved in pro cycling. Where is the ‘ethical’ element of the pro tour ?

    Do we just have to accept that the UCI are either incapable of running the sport OR incompetent. A third option appears more likely, given their past record. Where are the Armstrong receipts ! Why are WADA having to keep an eye on the UCI over the Contador saga.

    The UCI needs a clean out of the old guard and a set of new faces untainted by the past.

  • rob

    Excellent. It just gets better and better.

    Not only do we have Contador, Mosquera and a bevvy of other Spaniards testing positive but we have more allegations against Michael Rasmussen and a cloud over Petacchi too.

    What we really need is another committed doper returning the ranks.