T-Mobile Team has terminated its contract with Lorenzo Bernucci, effective immediately, after being notified by the UCI that he had tested positive for Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant. The team ruled that the Italian rider's action violated the team's internal code of ethics.
Bernucci tested positive on August 15 during the Deutschland Tour. The 27 year-old told the team that he had been taking the product under the brand name of Ectiva for four years and did not know that it had been added last year to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances. He purchased it over the counter at a pharmacy in Italy to help keep his weight under control.
If it is ruled that Sibutramine is not used for performance enhancement, a first violation carries a minimum punishment of a warning, and a maximum of a one-year suspension.
"We do not know if this was an attempt at performance enhancement or just poor judgment. But we know it is unacceptable that riders take any medication without the approval of the team doctor. It's a clear violation of our code of conduct and we act now on that basis," said General Manager Bob Stapleton on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com.
Bernucci had been riding the Vuelta a España. He lives in Monaco, so the Monaco Cycling Federation will be responsible for investigating the charges.
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