Mauro Santambrogio is expected to serve an 18-month ban following his positive test for EPO at the 2013 Giro d'Italia, after becoming the first Italian rider to confess to the UCI's Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Santambrogio was caught after his Vini Fantini-Selle Italia teammate Danilo Di Luca tested positive for EPO during the final week of the Giro d'Italia. Santambrogio's test was initially declared negative but further testing indicated he had taken a micro-dose of EPO. He was never formally sanctioned for doping in Italy, but Gazzetta dello Sport claims his confession to the CIRC mitigated a possible 4-year ban down to just 18 months.
It is not clear exactly what information Santambrogio gave to the CIRC. Gazzetta dello Sport suggests he explained how and where he bought EPO and who sold it to him. Santambrogio raced with LPR (2004-2006), Lampre (2006-2009) and BMC (2010-2012) before joining Vini Fantini and becoming team leader for the Giro d'Italia.
Last October, Santambrogio caused panic amongst his friends and followers on Twitter by writing "Addio Mondo" – "Goodbye World". However huge support seemed to have convinced him to rebuild his life. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that he has returned to work part-time as a baker and that he is now looking for a team that can help him return as a professional rider when his ban ends on November 2.
UCI President Brian Cookson announced the creation of the CIRC in January, saying the commission will "investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past –allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport”
The commission is headed by Swiss politician and former state prosecutor, Dick Marty plus anti-doping specialist and CAS arbitrator Ulrich Haas and former Australian military officer Peter Nicholson. Assisting the trio is Aurélie Merle, who has experience in investigation and justice work for the UN.
During the recent Giro d'Italia, Cookson revealed that several people have given evidence and information to the CIRC.
"I attended an update meeting a few weeks ago and I understand that some very significant and interesting people have come forward and spoken to the commission," Cookson said on May 23.
"Their work is continuing around the world. There are some very interesting people coming forward. I don’t know their names but I've been advised their work is progressing very well."