Nicola Ruffoni banned for four years after testing positive for growth hormone

Italian rider Nicola Ruffoni failed test for growth hormone on the eve of the 2017 Giro d'Italia, and has been handed a four-year suspension

Nicola Ruffoni.

(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Nicola Ruffoni has been suspended from competition for four years by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) after testing positive for growth hormone before the start of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

The Italian rider was due to have started the 100th edition of the Giro for the Bardiani-CSF team, but instead was sent home after he and team-mate Stefano Pirazzi both tested positive for GH-Releasing Peptides, growth hormones, on April 25 and 26 respectively.

Ruffoni initially said that the presence of the banned hormone in his system could have been due to treatment for a prostate infection that he had suffered in March and April.

>>> Nicola Ruffoni blames Giro d’Italia anti-doping positive on prostate infection

With Ruffoni and Pirazzi sent home, the Bardiani-CSF team started the Giro with just seven rather than nine riders.

The UCI confirmed Ruffoni's sanction in a statement issued on Wednesday.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Nicola Ruffoni," said the short statement.

"The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of GH-Releasing Peptides /GHRPs)* and imposed 4-year period of ineligibility on the rider."

"In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will shortly be published on the UCI website.

"(*) GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) are classified as “Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics” as per the Prohibited List 2017."

Ruffoni's suspension will expire on May 3 2021. Pirazzi was previously handed a four-year ban, which will also expire on May 3 2021.

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