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Di Luca upset with ASO's decision

Danilo Di Luca, 32, is upset with ASO's decision to leave out Team LPR Brakes for Flèche and Liège

Danilo Di Luca, 32, is upset with ASO's decision to leave out Team LPR Brakes for Flèche and Liège (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The announcement by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) of the teams invited to its Spring Classics – Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – did not come as welcome news for Danilo Di Luca. The 32 year-old Italian from Abruzzo saw that his team, LPR Brakes, did not make the list and that he would not be able to defend his 2007 Liège title. Di Luca has been involved in two investigations since his win last year in Ans: Oil for Drugs and one involving his hormone levels following 2007 Giro d'Italia's stage 17 to Monte Zoncolan, a race he went on to win overall.

"What bothers me the most is that I will not be able to race Liège with the number 1 [on my back]," said Di Luca to La Gazzetta dello Sport following confirmation of the team selection news.

Di Luca received the confirmation to race in RCS Sport's Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, and he performed well in the former while was disrupted for the latter. On the eve of Sanremo he was notified that he would have to wait ten more days for a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the 2004 Oil for Drugs affair. "Certainly, the stress in the previous days took its toll."

Classics Flèche (April 23) and, moreover, Liège (27) were Di Luca's season goals. "I would have arrived at the Classics in the best of form, with the possibility of repeating in both races." He won Flèche Wallonne in 2005.

"It is clear the decision to leave us at home is related the investigations open against me. Now, I am really broken. It is absurd that this situation [Oil for Drugs - ed.] goes on for 10 months, since I won the Giro d'Italia, and I have no longer had any peace. I hope that it is closed as quickly as possible."

The expert panel of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is expected to release its decision on April 1 regarding the irregular hormone levels revealed from controls following stage 17 of the Giro. If found guilty, Di Luca faces a two-year suspension and the risk of losing his Giro title. Assuming all goes well, his return to racing will be in the Settimana Lombarda (April 1) and the Giro del Trentino (22 to 25).

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