Danilo Di Luca has finally inked a contract with Vini Fantini-Sella Italia and will make his debut in the team's fluorescent yellow colours on Saturday at the GP Larciano in Tuscany. If his return to racing goes well, he could secure a place in the Vini Fantini-Sella Italia team for the Giro d'Italia.
Rumours of Di Luca riding for the Italian team have circulated for several months. However not everyone wanted Di Luca in the team, despite the apparent insistence of a key sponsor.
The arrival of Alessandro Benetton's investment company as a new majority shareholder at Vini Fantini apparently helped facilitate Di Luca's arrival. The Vini Fantini-Sella Italia team is expected to confirm the news on Saturday to coincide with a story in Gazzetta dello Sport. He is already listed as being part of the Italian Professional Continental team on the UCI website.
The team confirmed Di Luca's arrival to Cyclingnews and Di Luca spoke about his comeback.
"I'm very happy to finally have sorted things out and to be back racing. It's been a long, drawn out process but the important thing is to be back racing," Di Luca told Cyclingnews.
"I haven't raced since last season but I've been training since November. Of course racing is different but we'll see how I go."
Despite not having raced since last year's Il Lombardia, Di Luca hopes to ride the Giro d'Italia. Cyclingnews understands that he has continued to be available for anti-doping testing.
"We'll see how things go this weekend and then we'll make a decision about the Giro d'Italia," Di Luca told Cyclingnews cautiously.
Di Luca turned 37 in January and raced with the Acqua & Sapone team in 2012, winning the Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie race and finishing fourth overall at the Tour of Austria. He finished second overall in the 2009 Giro d'Italia but tested positive for the blood boosting drug CERA and was suspended for two years. His ban was reduced to just nine months by the Italian Olympic Committee after he cooperated with anti-doping investigators. He made a comeback with the Katusha team in 2011.