A verdict on Diego Ulissi’s positive test for Salbutamol has been delayed until January following a three and a half hour hearing in Lugano on Tuesday. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the delay is to allow for the compilation of a full statement of defence from Ulissi’s legal team.
Ulissi faces a possible ban of two years if found guilty of a doping infraction, although Gazzetta speculates that any sanction is likely to be between nine and twelve months in length, with the start of the suspension backdated to the day of his initial positive test on May 21.
Ulissi returned an adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol during the Giro d’Italia, where he won two stages. The amount of salbutamol found in his urine – 1900 ng/ml – was almost twice the permissible limit of 1,000 ng/ml. According to the Lampre-Merida team, Ulissi declared two daily puffs of Ventolin, equivalent to 100ng of Salbutamol each.
Although adverse analytical findings for specified substances do not require mandatory provisional suspensions, Ulissi was withheld from racing by Lampre and he underwent a battery of tests in Lausanne in July in a bid to explain the anomaly.
In the absence of further clarification from the UCI, Ulissi then returned to racing for Lampre at the Coppa Bernocchi on September 16. That very evening, however, the UCI announced that it had instigated disciplinary proceedings against the Italian and he was again removed from Lampre’s active roster.
As Ulissi is resident in Switzerland and holds a Swiss racing licence, his case has been handled by Swiss Cycling and Tuesday’s hearing was before the Swiss Olympic Committee’s disciplinary panel.
Ulissi was represented at the hearing by Rocco Taminelli, formerly of the UCI's disciplinary commission. Earlier this month, Gazzetta listed Taminelli among those who dealt with the Monaco-based T&P Sport Management Company, which is suspected of helping some of the riders implicated in the long-running Padova doping investigation to avoid paying tax.