Giunti tests positive for EPO, suspended

Italian targeted under biological passport programme

Androni Giocattoli rider Massimo Giunti has been provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after testing positive for EPO in a targeted out-of-competition test carried out last month.

Giunti, 35, had been scheduled to start Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday morning, but was pulled out of the race following news of his positive result for the illegal blood-booster.

"It's a bitter blow and I'm shocked but it's strange too," said Androni Giocattoli principal Gianni Savio. "I found out when I was leaving the hotel and we left Giunti there. I'm depressed about the whole thing because at our training camp in November, we devoted half a day to a course about anti-doping.

"We keep telling the riders, especially the ones who rode in the old days, that the world of cycling has totally changed."

The World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland reported a positive finding for EPO in a urine test carried out on February 23. The UCI said in a statement to day that Giunti's non-negative control had been carried out in response to irregularities detected under the biological passport programme.

"This adverse finding was a direct result of a targeted urine test conducted because of an unusual blood profile in Mr Giunti’s biological passport," read the UCI's statement.

Giunti has the right to request analysis of a B sample.

The Italian had been competing in his first season for Androni Giocattoli after a transfer from Miche - Silver Cross - Selle Italia at the end of 2009. Giunti finished fourth on stage four of last month's Giro di Sardegna, three days after his positive control was taken. A professional since 1999, he has never claimed a professional victory.

Despite the news of Giunti's positive breaking on the opening day of Tirreno-Adriatico, Savio said he still expects his team to be invited to the Giro d'Italia in May.

"As an extra deterrent [to doping] we added a clause to riders' contracts. They have to pay the full value of their contract if they test positive. This case is about Massimo Giunti, not the team. I don't think it will affect our chances of being invited to the Giro," he said.


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