Current women?s world champion Marta Bastianelli has tested positive for the banned substance flenfluramine, the Italian Cycling Federation confirmed on Monday.
Traces of flenfluramine were found in a urine sample taken after Bastianelli finished third in the European Under 23 road race championships on July 5 in Verbania, Italy.
Bastianelli has been selected to ride for Italy in the Beijing Olympics and was due to leave for China in the next few days but is almost certain to miss the Games because of the failed test. She won the world title in Stuttgart last year with a late attack, finishing ahead of Holland's Marianne Vos and team mate Giorgia Bronzini.
She would have been one of the favourites for the Beijing road race, which will feature three British riders, Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws.
?She?s been incredibly ingenious, she was positive for flenfluramine, that is in dieting products. She?s obsessed about her weight. She only eats salad,? Italian Cycling Federation president Renato di Rocco said, defending Bastianelli.
?Were going to immediately ask for the counter-analysis but the Olympics is not the only problem. It?s about the image she has given herself and the whole of cycling??
Italian cycling is still reeling from Riccardo Ricco?s positive for EPO during the Tour de France. Ricco is due to face a grilling from the Italian Olympic Committee?s anti-doping investigators in Rome on Tuesday.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1