Even though the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced yesterday that it was removing Italian Danilo Di Luca from its ProTour standings for 2007 the rider from Abruzzo warned that the appeal process with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has yet to be completed. The 31 year-old of Team Liquigas led the competition that will conclude tomorrow with the Giro di Lombardia, however cycling's governing body controversially eliminated the 2005 ProTour winner after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) suspended its rider for three months.
Di Luca was sanctioned by CONI Tuesday as part of his involvement in the 2004 Oil for Drugs affair. He had led the ProTour standings by 15 points over Australian Cadel Evans, a margin that was largely thanks to his Giro d'Italia victory in May.
"I want to say that my appeal with CAS is still pending," said Di Luca to La Gazzetta dello Sport after the news of the UCI's decision. "This new injustice reinforces my intentions of appealing the disqualification. The UCI will have to put me back in the ProTour [standings].
"The UCI will have to be able to demonstrate the decision's merit. My lawyer was in contact with [UCI ProTour Manager Alain] Rumpf, explaining that this is not a disqualification for doping and that the doctor in question was licensed, but it was of no use."
Di Luca is rumoured to be in negotiations with Teams Lampre, Saunier Duval and LPR, but the recent events could bring down his asking price. "Anyhow, at the end of this I will seek retribution," he concluded.