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Italian judge dismisses Di Luca case

An Italian judge cleared Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca of involvement the Oil for Drugs case on Thursday. Di Luca had been under investigation for the 2004 probe which also tied in Carlo Santuccione, a doctor who allegedly supplied athletes with doping products. The dismissal was requested by public prosecution.

Di Luca's chances of avoiding a ban or other punishment have improved with this decision, but he is not completely off the hook yet. He meets Saturday with Italian Olympic Comittee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri to answer questions pertinent to the investigation.

"I have always maintained that the case would be dismissed," said Di Luca according to the team's website "So I can't really say that I'm surprised, nevertheless I'm still very relieved. The next important step now awaits me: a meeting with CONI's anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri. The judgement of the sport's judicial system is just as important to me as that of the courts.

"I know that many young people look up to me as a role model, especially after my win at the Giro. This is another reason why I don't want, and can't allow, my credibility to be questioned. I'll be facing Saturday's hearing without any contention, as some have mistakenly speculated; on the contrary, I'll attend the meeting with a positive frame of mind in the certainty that I can prove my innocence as I have done in the courts."

Astana's Eddy Mazzoleni, who finished third in the Giro d'Italia, will be also be questioned as part of the same investigation. Mazzoleni is scheduled to meet with CONI on Friday.

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