Biondo suspended for EPO positive

(Updated) Ceramica-Flaminia rider faces doping case after placing second overall in Denmark

The UCI announced Monday that it has suspended Italian cyclist Maurizio Biondo after he tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control on August 12, 2009.

The 28 year old rider from Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce won the time trial at the Tour of Denmark last month and placed second overall. He was hoping to be selected for the Italian team for the World Championships in Switzerland.

The provisional suspension was issued after the WADA laboratory in Lausanne declared an Adverse Analytical Finding for the blood booster NESP (Novel erythropoiesis stimulating protein/ darbepoetin alfa) in a test on Biondo's blood sample.

"I'm bitter, upset. I don't understand why, given the numours controls, some riders still think they can break the rules without detection," said team manager Roberto Marrone. "Several times the team directors and I have reinforced with the riders that the fate of 30 people and their families depends on their behaviour. None of us have ever demanded results at any cost."

The provisional suspension will be in effect until the Italian Cycling Federation has determined whether Biondo has violated anti-doping rules.

The rider can request a counter-analysis, and his team has said it would await the results of the B-sample before taking any further action against Biondo.

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