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Mattia Gavazzi banned following positive in-competition test for cocaine, Gianni Savio cleared of supplying him

Two and a half year ban for Colnago-CSF rider, reduced from six due to his co-operation with enquiry

CONI, the Italian national Olympic committee, has banned Colnago-CSF rider Mattia Gavazzi for two and a half years – reduced from the full penalty of a six-year ban due to the cyclist’s co-operation in its investigation – as a result of his positive test for cocaine in a doping control during the Settimana Lombarda in March 2010.

The 28-year-old’s former manager at Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli, Gianni Savio, whom Gavazzi claimed had supplied him with the drug, was cleared after the tribual ruled that the cyclist’s testimony on that issue was not credible.

The severity of the punishment reflects the fact that Gavazzi previously served a 14-month ban following a positive test for cocaine in 2004, when he was still an amateur. Having been suspended since his positive test two years ago, Gavazzi will be eligible to return to the sport on 30 September 2012 when his current ban ends.

The day after Gavazzi provided the sample that led to the positive test that is the subject of the latest ban, he won stage 2 of the Settimana Lombarda.

The rider has victories in races including the Tour de San Luis and Tour of Langkawi among his palmarès, while his father, Pierino, was a three-time Italian champion who won four stages of the Giro d’Italia during his career, as well as the 1980 Milan-San Remo.

While cocaine is a banned substance under the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List, that only applies if it is detected during an in-competition test, as happened with Gavazzi.

Belgium’s Tom Boonen has three times tested positive for cocaine from out-of-competition samples, the last of those shortly before the 2009 Tour de France which he was able to compete in after arguing his case before the courts.

In 2010, unions representing professional footballers and cricketers in England called on WADA to remove cocaine and marijuana from its Prohibited List for in-competition banned substances.

The Professional Footballers’ Association and Professional Cricketers’ Association argued that the emphasis should be on seeking to rehabilitate those using what are seen as recreational rather than performance-enhancing drugs, instead of punishing them.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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notfastenough | 12 years ago

If he's already been banned for it before, and it's a recreational drug rather than PED, AND he's not even waiting until the off-season to take it, I would suggest that he has a 'drug problem' in the traditional sense of the phrase.

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