Giro d'Italia winner and ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca has been handed a three month suspension by Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) for his involvement in the "Oil for Drugs" doping affair. Di Luca was accused of working with Italian doctor Carlos Santuccione, who has been under investigation for several years for allegedly supplying banned doping products to athletes in Italy. The Liquigas rider was removed from the World Championships because of his implication in the scandal.
The 31 year-old has always denied his involvement, and went into the hearing saying he was "calm". After the decision was handed down, his lawyer, Federico Cecconi, clarified that the suspension was not for anti-doping offenses, but for collusion with Santuccione, and also pointed out that during the period in question, Santuccione had been re-admitted into the ranks of the Italian federation as a sports doctor. Cecconi said that there is a possibility that they will launch an appeal to the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but will make that decision in the coming month.
Di Luca will now miss the Giro di Lombardia, the final ProTour event of the season, opening the door for Australian Cadel Evans to surpass him in the standings should he finish well. If Evans does not take the ProTour, the UCI will be in the awkward position of awarding the jersey to a suspended rider.