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Italian cyclist Danilo Di Luca received a two-year ban from the Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) today for doping at last year's Giro d'Italia. The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced in July that he tested positive twice for blood booster EPO-CERA during the stage race, in which he finished second overall.
The TNA's decided for one year less than what the head prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Ettore Torri, recommended December 17. Torri based his decision of a three-year ban over the standard two-year ban because of Di Luca's prior doping offence. He served a three-month suspension in 2007 for visiting banned sports doctor Carlo Santuccione in 2004.
The Italian cycling federation (FCI) issued Santuccione five-year ban in 1995 and a lifetime ban in 2006.
Di Luca, 34, also received today a €280,000 fine (equivalent to 70% of his declared income), on top of the €2040 fee for the analysis of the blood and urine samples.
He said today that he plans to appeal the TNA decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). "There is still a fight, but I am confident," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Anyway, it won't be my farewell to the sport, there is still a lot I can give. I am confident I that I will be able to return even before two year's time."
The TNA Ban runs through July 21, 2011, when Di Luca would be 36 years old.
Di Luca won the Giro d'Italia in 2007 and this year, he won two stages and finished 41 seconds behind winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank).
His two positive doping controls came from blood samples on May 20 (stage 11) and May 28 (stage 18). He submitted to a total of five blood and 12 urine samples during the three-week race.
Giro organiser RCS Sport should soon re-write the overall classification of last year's race, giving Italian Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) second and Italian team-mate Ivan Basso third.
Di Luca facing three-year ban
Di Luca positive for EPO at the Giro
CERA: New scourge of the peloton
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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