LAUSANNE, June 03, 2013 (AFP) – Italian cyclist Mauro Santambrogio tested positive for EPO during last month’s Giro d’Italia, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said Monday.
The 28-year-old finished ninth overall on the Giro and won the 14th stage but tested positive for the banned blood-booster on the opening stage on May 4.
He thus becomes the second Vini Fantini rider in the space of 10 days to test positive for EPO after former Giro winner Danilo Di Luca was thrown off the race on May 24 for having also tested positive in an out of competition test before the Giro began.
Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended by the UCI until the Italian Cycling Federation takes a decision on the case.
He was twice previously under the microscope during his BMC days having been mentioned in a doping inquiry related to his Lampre days, although no action was taken against him.
Vini Fantini boss Luca Scinto was left devastated by the news and said it could bring down the second-division team, who only competed at the Giro on an invitation.
“Everything’s finished, the whole project is finished,” he told Tuttobiciweb.it.
“What do you want me to tell you, I’m distraught, I’m ruined. I defended him like no other rider before because from (the Giro start in) Naples there were awful rumours about him going around the peloton.
“I didn’t want to believe them and on more than one occasion I had a face-to-face with him.
“He told me: ‘It’s only jealousy Luca, calm down. But you can’t keep asking me these questions because they’re offensive’.
“What can I say? We’re distraught, myself and Angelo (Citracca, the team manager) because we know perfectly well it’s a mortal blow.”
Santambrogio had been enjoying a great season having finished seventh at the Tirreno-Adriatico, second at the Tour of Trentino and won the Larciano GP.