Italian neo-pro Michele Gazzoli banned for one year for 'non-intentional' anti-doping violation

23-year-old has Astana-Qazaqstan contract terminated as a result of sanction

Michele Gazzoli
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Italian neo-pro Michele Gazzoli has received a one year ban from the UCI for a "non-intentional" anti-doping rule violation. The young rider has also had his contract terminated with Astana-Qazaqstan as a result.

Cycling's governing body announced the news on Thursday afternoon. In a statement, they said that Tuaminoheptane, a WADA prohibited substance, was detected in an in-competition test at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta in February.

In their own statement, Astana said that "the above-named substance entered the body unintentionally from the ingestion of a medication named Rhinofluimucil (a nasal spray for the treatment of rhinitis), purchased at a pharmacy independently without any implication of the medical staff of Astana Qazaqstan Team".

As a result of the "non-intentional" anti-doping rule breaking, Gazzoli was not sanctioned beyond just a one-year ban. Astana said this being a mistake "is why the disciplinary penalty was limited to one year of ineligibility and disqualification of the results of one race Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta only".

However, "adhering to the zero tolerance policy" of Astana, Gazzoli's contract has been terminated. The 23-year-old had raced 44 times for the team this year, his best result being a fourth place at the Volta ao Algarve, which will now be stripped from his record. He had a contract with the team into 2023, but will now be looking for new opportunities.

"Astana Qazaqstan Team categorically emphasizes that the team has nothing to do with this unfortunate violation of anti-doping rule by the rider Michele Gazzoli," the team said.

Last month Miguel Ángel López was suspended by the team last month after being questioned by Spanish police in connection to a controversial doctor currently under investigation. However, after nothing was found, he was allowed to continue riding.

The UCI statement on Gazzoli read: "The matter arises as a result of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for Tuaminoheptane* in a sample collected in-competition on 17 February 2022 by the International Testing Agency (ITA) on behalf of the UCI.

"In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules (UCI ADR), the period of ineligibility started on 10 August 2022 and is effective until 9 August 2023 (included).

"Michele Gazzoli has also been disqualified from all competitive results obtained at the 2022 Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta.

"The case has been resolved by way of an acceptance of consequences as provided for by the Code and the UCI ADR."

Astana's statement said: "Astana Qazaqstan Team received an official notification from the UCI regarding a 1-year period of ineligibility imposed on the rider Michele Gazzoli as the consequences of the presence of a Prohibited Substance Tuaminoheptane in the rider’s A Sample collected during an in-competition doping control on February 17th at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta.

"As part of this case, Astana Qazaqstan Team received from Michele Gazzoli a full explanation on how the above-named substance entered his body. These explanations have also been presented and thoroughly reviewed by the UCI.

"The UCI considered the explanations provided by Michele Gazzoli, namely the fact that the above-named substance entered the body unintentionally from the ingestion of a medication named Rhinofluimucil (a nasal spray for the treatment of rhinitis), purchased at a pharmacy independently without any implication of the medical staff of Astana Qazaqstan Team. The UCI decided this case was classified as an unintentional violation of anti-doping rule, which is why the disciplinary penalty was limited to one year of ineligibility and disqualification of the results of one race Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta only.

"Astana Qazaqstan Team categorically emphasizes that the team has nothing to do with this unfortunate violation of anti-doping rule by the rider Michele Gazzoli.

"Astana Qazaqstan Team, adhering to the zero tolerance policy, decided to immediately terminate the contract with Michele Gazzoli."

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