Pirazzi handed four-year ban for doping - News Shorts

The UCI quietly concluded the doping case of Italian Stefano Pirazzi, listing a four-year ban lasting until May 3, 2021 for the doping positive that was made public just before the start of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

Pirazzi and teammate Nicola Ruffoni tested positive for GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) in out-of-competition controls. Pirazzi's sample was taken April 26, 2017, one day after Ruffoni's.

The list of doping sanctions has not yet been updated to reflect any conclusion to Ruffoni's case.

Both riders were part of Bardiani-CSF's team for the Giro, and the announcement of their anti-doping rule violations came after the team presentations. But manager Bruno Reverberi successfully pleaded with the organisers to keep the team in the race, although they were prevented from fielding substitutions under UCI rules.

The team was not able to avoid being suspended by the UCI under its rules for multiple doping cases in a team. The squad sat out 30 days of racing from June 14 to July 14.

Hodeg signs with Quick-Step Floors

Quick-Step Floors announced the signing of trainee Alvaro Hodeg to a two-year contract on Tuesday. The Colombian joins compatriot Fernando Gaviria as a promising sprinter in the team.

Patrick Lefevere recognized the promise of the 21-year-old Tour de l'Avenir stage winner who rode with the team as a trainee this season.

"We have closely monitored Alvaro this season and we were really impressed by what we've seen," Lefevere said. "He has the potential, talent and determination to make it as a pro. I'm sure he will find his place in the team and learn the trade from the more experienced riders, including Fernando, with whom he shares the passion for sprints and one-day races."

Hodeg could hardly believe his good fortune in being signed to the WorldTour. "How crazy is this? I think I need some time to realize I just signed a contract with Quick-Step Floors. I can't believe it right now, but I am super happy," he said in a team press release. "When I got the chance to ride with the team as stagiaire, I was really excited and I wanted to show everybody my very best. Here just a little over a month after, I am left with no words to describe how proud I am that the squad wants me to stay, believing I have a future with them." 

18 teams for inaugural edition of Hong Kong Cyclothon 

The race organizers of the Hong Kong Cyclothon have announced 18-teams for the inaugural edition of the 1.1 race. WorldTour teams Orica-Scott and UAE Team Emirates headline the start list while Bahrain-Merida's Yukiya Arashiro will race with the Japanese National Team

Also on the start list is French Pro-Continental team Delko Marseille Provence KTM, and several Continental and national teams. The race will be held October 8 in Hong Kong.

Likely to be decided in a sprint, Andrea Guardini and Ben Swift lead the UAE Team Emirates team, while Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec is the main rider for Orica-Scott. Scott Sunderland (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness), and Jon Aberasturi (Team Ukyo) add depth to the sprint list.

Scott Davies and James Knox, who both move into the WorldTour next year, will line out with Team Wiggins.

Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz signs on for Delko Marseille Provence KTM

Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz will ride for Delko Marseille Provence KTM in 2018 with the French Pro-Continental squad announcing a two-year deal for the Pole.

The 23-year-old rode with the Quick-Step Floors feeder squads for two seasons before moving on to An Post-Chainreaction in 2017. He rode as a stagiaire with the WorldTour team from August 1 but will move to Delko Marseille Provence KTM.

"I am very happy that I will be part of this big team for the next two years," Kasperkiewicz said. "I have been talking with the team manager for a long time. I really liked the vision of this team. Every detail is important for me because now cycling is based on details: a great preparation for the season and a great program for my personal characteristics."

Kasperkiewicz has largely raced a Belgian programme in 2017 but claimed stage wins at the An Post Ras and Tour de Bretagne Cycliste in May.

"I hope that from the first day I can enjoy my ride with Delko Marseille Provence KTM and that we will create a super team together," he added. "And of course I love France, the most beautiful Country just after Poland!"

Kasperkiewicz will join new signings Brenton Jones (JLT Condor), Julien Trarieux (Neo-Pro), Lucas De Rossi (VC la Pomme Marseille), Jérémy Leveau (Roubaix Lille Métropole), Iuri Filosi (Nippo - Vini Fantini), Javi Moreno (Bahrain-Merida) from 2018 at Delko Marseille Provence KTM.

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