The Bardiani-CSF team have indicated they will not quit the Giro d'Italia after two of their riders, Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni, were informed of adverse analytical findings after out-of-competition doping controls taken last month.
The team face a 15-45 day suspension for having two doping positives in a 12-month period under the UCI rules, but their ban needs to come after a meeting of the UCI's Disciplinary Commission, which could be weeks off.
Directeur sportif Bruno Reverberi and manager Roberto Reverberi issued a joint statement shortly after the UCI confirmed the positive tests. The news was first revealed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, forcing the UCI and the team to act.
"We are absolutely shocked by the news. We look forward to the results of further investigations under the anti-doping regulations and we strongly reaffirm our intention to safeguard the values that our sport project has been pursuing over these years."
Should the B sample analysis confirm the doping positive, Bardiani-CSF said "the sporting company will proceed to immediate dismissal, as provided by rules of procedure already signed by riders of the team".
Giro organisers RCS Sport issued a brief press release on Thursday evening, supporting the UCI's fight against doping and saying they were "awaiting the B-sample examinations which will determine the outcome" but said the race director and RCS Sport "reserves the right to take any appropriate measure to protect the image and the name of the Giro d'Italia".
The UCI's Anti-Doping Regulations specify that teams can face punishment before the B-sample analysis confirms a doping positive. More than one rider on the same team need only be informed of an 'adverse analytical finding' (AAF) based on the A-sample analysis to have their team subject to a ban.
Should the Bardiani-CSF team start the Giro d'Italia on Friday morning as they indicate, they will only be allowed seven riders, as the time to name substitute riders has expired.