It's only mid-January but we've already got a contender for the strangest cycling story of the year, involving an Italian jazz guitarist and a doping ban.
Luigi 'Gigi' Cifarelli, 59, has an "unbridled passion for cycling" according to Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab) and took his love of the pursuit one step further by taking performance enhancing drugs ahead of an amateur race.
As reported by Gazzetta on Tuesday, the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) (opens in new tab) handed Cifarelli a four-year ban after he tested positive at the Grand Prix Dell'Uva Fragola-Suno - an amateur race - on August 20.
Having been provisionally suspended since August, his ban runs from January 18, 2016, to November 17, 2019, according to the notice on the CONI website (opens in new tab). But will he attempt a comeback aged 63?
Cifarelli was also ordered to pay €378 in legal fees associated with the case. He's not released an album since 2009, according to Wikipedia, so with all this spare time on his hands he'll be able to get working on some new tracks to pay off his dues.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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