Di Gregorio faces suspended prison sentence following 2012 arrest

2018 EPO case still ongoing

Rémy Di Grégorio faces a one-year suspended prison sentence and a permanent ban from cycling after a Marseille court deemed him to have held doping products in 2012. The final judgement is expected to be rendered on July 2.

According to L’Equipe, the prosecuting lawyer requested the sentence after stating that Di Gregorio “is not a virtuous rider driven by the desire to win races fairly and he has undermined the sporting ethics of the monument that it the Tour de France.”

Performance enhancing drugs have been illegal in France since 1965. The Cofidis team hotel was raided by police during the first rest day of the 2012 Tour de France and Di Gregorio was arrested. Police had been tapping the Frenchman for more than a year by the time of the arrest.

Speaking in court, Di Gregorio said that the case had devalued his position as a rider. “This affair messed me up, pushed me away from the middle. It devalued me. My market value is at zero,” he said.

Prior to the Tour de France, Di Gregorio had ordered a number of doping products on the internet, according to L’Equipe. The order included 100 butterfly needles and 80 syringes, plus a 500mg bottle of glucose, which can be used to mask doping products.

Di Gregorio’s doctor, a Marseille-based 'naturopath', was also arrested and admitted to injecting the rider with ozone. Di Gregorio was suspended by his Cofidis team and later fired. The Frenchman has always maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, and in 2013 he was cleared by a court of being in possession of doping-related products, though prosecutors said that the case had not been formally closed. Later that year, Di Gregorio won an unfair dismissal case against Cofidis and the team were forced to pay out damages.

Di Gregorio eventually returned to the peloton at the start of 2014 with his local Pro Continental team La Pomme Marseille 13 (now Delko-Marseille Provence KTM). He would never return to the Tour de France, other than as a guest, and after a so-so four seasons with the team, he announced his retirement at the end of 2017.

Despite this, he returned to the peloton at the start of this season with Delko Marseille and took his first win since 2014 at the Tour Cyclist International La Provence. However, two months later the UCI confirmed that the 32-year-old had tested positive for a version of EPO in a control conducted during Paris-Nice. The UCI said in a statement on their website that the control had been intelligence-led and was conducted by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation.

Although L'Equipe reported last week that the B-sample analysis has confirmed the presence of EPO in the Frenchman's sample, the UCI has yet to update its list of sanctions to reflect any ban.

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