UCI give Astana's Michele Gazzoli one-year ban for unintentional use of stimulant

Michele Gazzoli (Astana) on the attack during the 2022 Volta ao Algarve
Michele Gazzoli (Astana) on the attack during the 2022 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

The UCI has given Michele Gazzoli a one-year suspension after the Astana Qazaqstan rider tested positive for a banned stimulant during the Volta ao Algarve on February 17, 2022. 

Upon receiving the news, citing a zero tolerance policy, Astana announced it has terminated Gazzoli's contract.

The substance, Tuaminoheptane, a decongestant, is classified as a stimulant by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Because it is a "specified substance", the positive did not result in a provisional suspension for Gazzoli. The UCI rules for specified substances allow for reduced bans in the case of accidental ingestion.

According to a statement by Astana, Gazzoli, in his first year as a professional at 23, claimed the positive resulted from the use of a nasal spray for the treatment of rhinitis, Rhinofluimucil. The ingredients list Tuaminoheptane (DCI) sulfate.

Astana emphasised that the product was "purchased at a pharmacy independently without any implication of the medical staff of Astana Qazaqstan Team", and added, "Astana Qazaqstan Team categorically emphasizes that the team has nothing to do with this unfortunate violation of anti-doping rule by the rider Michele Gazzoli.

"Astana Qazaqstan Team, adhering to the zero tolerance policy, decided to immediately terminate the contract with Michele Gazzoli."

After the adjudication of the case, the UCI decided to issue a one-year suspension for Gazzoli from 10 August 2022 through 9 August 2023, and disqualified his results from the 2022 Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta.

As per UCI Regulations, the presence of a specified substance such as Tuaminoheptane in an anti-doping sample does not spark a mandatory provisional suspension. This explains why has case had not been publicly disclosed and why Gazzoli raced on in 2022, recently finishing the Tour de Pologne.

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