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Mauro Santambrogio provisionally suspended after positive EPO test at Giro

Second Vini Fantini - Selle Italia rider tests positive; Di Luca already kicked off the team

Mauro Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO during the Giro d'Italia. The Vini Fantini - Selle Italia rider is the second rider from the squad to test positive in recent weeks; Danilo Di Luca was thrown off the tour – and off the team – after an out-of-competition test from before the Giro came back positive when the race was in full swing.

Santambrogio rode consistently well throughout the Giro, winning stage 14 to Bardonecchia; eventual overall winner Vincenzo Nibali came home in second place that day and should Santambrogio's suspension move from being merely provisional the Scicilian will have another Giro stage win to add to his palmares. Santambrogio finished 9th overall. His positive test was from a urine sample taken on 4 May, the first day of the race. The full UCI press release is below.

Whereas the team were quick to distance themselves from the Di Luca result, calling him an 'idiot' and suggesting that his place on the team was secured mainly due to his friendship with the sponsor, the positive from Santambrogio will be much harder to spin. "The peloton knew Vini Fantini weren't trustworthy", David Millar has said of the test on twitter. "[it] was the talking point for the first week of the Giro (until misery & survival took over)". Team director Luca Scinto hasn't held back on twitter either. "You're right. Rip me to shreds. I trusted them. They are crazy and I'm a moron to believe them. They're sick", he said of the news.

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Mauro Santambrogio provisionally suspended

The UCI advised Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio that he is provisionally suspended. The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Rome indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in his urine sample collected at the Giro d’ Italia on 4 May 2013.

The provisional suspension of Mr. Santambrogio remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Italian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

Mr. Santambrogio has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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35 comments

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aslongasicycle | 10 years ago
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MIND BOGGLINGLY INEVITABLE

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brackley88 | 10 years ago
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Boo, hiss......

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scaramanga | 10 years ago
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So the question here is; Why, if a sample taken on Day 1 of the Giro, did it take until now to release the result? Why allow him to ride the full race?

This may be down to my ignorance in the intricacies of the testing process but surely there should be a quicker turn around than 4+ weeks?

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Colin Peyresourde replied to scaramanga | 10 years ago
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scaramanga wrote:

So the question here is; Why, if a sample taken on Day 1 of the Giro, did it take until now to release the result? Why allow him to ride the full race?

This may be down to my ignorance in the intricacies of the testing process but surely there should be a quicker turn around than 4+ weeks?

It maybe that the tests are far more thorough and certain protocols required to ensure validation of the test is required. I think it is a bit too long, but as long as the riders are caught (or at least some) I don't really care how long it takes.

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crazy-legs replied to scaramanga | 10 years ago
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scaramanga wrote:

So the question here is; Why, if a sample taken on Day 1 of the Giro, did it take until now to release the result? Why allow him to ride the full race?

This may be down to my ignorance in the intricacies of the testing process but surely there should be a quicker turn around than 4+ weeks?

Because, unlike in CSI or detective films, it's not a case of dropping some urine on a piece of paper, watching it turn red and then nailing the suspect. It's massively involved, the whole process from the moment the athlete is notified is subject to rigourous scrutiny and if any part of that is wrong, you run the risk that a guilty person walks free on a technicality.

They'll be testing for all sorts so there's a whole range of tests that the sample goes through; each time the machines have to be calibrated, double checked, the whole procedure methodically processed then checked...

Once a sample comes back "adverse", it then has to be matched to the rider (cos the tests are blind, the analyst does not know the identity of the rider for fairly obvious reasons) so that involves a different team.

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