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Di Luca to face CONI hearing on August 26

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
August 11, 2009, 9:26 BST,
Updated:
August 11, 2009, 11:37 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)

Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)

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Italian authority expected to seek two-to-four year ban

Danilo Di Luca will face a hearing with the Anti-Doping Commission of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on August 26, it was announced Monday. The Italian returned two positive anti-doping controls for EPO-CERA during this year's Giro d'Italia.

The two positive tests came from blood samples taken on May 20 (stage 11) and May 28 (stage 18). The LPR Brakes rider finished second overall in this year's Giro. He won the three-week Grand Tour in 2007.

The positive results were first announced July 22 and Di Luca was suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI). His B-samples were subsequently confirmed positive earlier this month by the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory in Paris.

It was unclear what length suspension Di Luca might face if found guilty by CONI. In 2007 he served a three-month ban for his involvement for the Italian “Oil for Drugs” investigation. Ordinarily, a second doping violation could lead to lifetime ban, but UCI president Patrick McQuaid earlier told Cyclingnews that it was not clear whether the previous suspension would be considered as a first offence.

CONI is expected to ask for a two-to-four year suspension for the current charges.

When the original positive results were announced, the 33-year-old said that he would retire if the B-samples were also positive. However, when the second set of positive results were confirmed, his attorney said that he would fight the charges.

Di Luca turned pro in 1998 with Riso Scotti, and rode for Cantina Tollo (1999-2001), Saeco (2002-2004) and Liquigas (2005-2007) before joining LPR Brakes-Ballan in 2008. In addition to winning the Giro in 2007, he has won eight stages in that race, and also won the UCI ProTour overall title in 2005. He has also won a number of prestigious one-day races, such as the Amstel Gold Race (2005), Giro di Lombardia (2001), Fleche Wallonne (2005) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2007).

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