Danilo Di Luca has been suspended for two years by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). He tested positive for the EPO derivative CERA at the 2009 Giro d'Italia.
The rider announced he will contest the decision. “We will turn to the Court of Appeal for Sport,” he said, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport. “I am confident even though the fight isn't over. But I will not be saying farewell to racing. I still have a lot to give. I am convinced I will be able to return before the two years are up.”
Under the decision, announced Monday afternoon, the former LPR Brakes rider must pay a fine of 280,000 Euro and costs of 2,040 Euro.
CONI had sought a three-year ban for Di Luca, the usual two-year suspension plus an addition year for “aggravating circumstances.”
The suspension runs through July 21, 2011.
On July 22, 2009, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that it had suspended Di Luca for two positive tests from the Giro d'Italia. The tests were from May 20 and 28. Di Luca finished second overall in the Giro.
According to the UCI, the findings “were a direct result of a targeted test programme conducted on Mr. Di Luca using information from his biological passport’s blood profile, previous test results and his race schedule."
Di Luca has consistently denied the charges.