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The Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team has become the first squad to be suspended under a new provision in the UCI’s anti-doping rules, with the Italian squad being handed a 30 day freeze.
The UCI announced its Disciplinary Commission’s decision on Wednesday, saying that the squad would be unable to compete between August 1 and 30.
The decision was taken after two of the team’s riders tested positive. Italian rider Davide Appollonio was subjected to a doping control on June 14, and this subsequently showed traces of EPO.
On Monday the UCI announced that another Italian, Fabio Taborre, underwent an out of competition doping control on June 16 2015 which subsequently revealed traces of the substance FG-4592.
FG-4592 is a banned product which stimulates the exogenous production of the blood booster EPO. It went through phase II clinical trials but in May 2007 this was temporarily suspended following the death of a trial participant due to fulminant hepatitis.
In early 2008 the blockage was lifted by the FDA. Earlier this year the companies behind it said they were working on phase III clinical trials.
As it had two cases in the same calendar year, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec became liable for sanction under the anti-doping regulation 7.12.1, which was introduced at the start of the year.
It states that teams with two positives – other than those for specified substances – will face suspensions between 15 and 45 days.
A third positive in the same calendar year can lead to suspensions between 15 days and 12 months.
In both cases the UCI Disciplinary Commission will weigh up the situation and decide on the period of sanction.
On Monday the team said it would sue Taborre, echoing its response when Appollonio tested positive.
During the off season it said that all riders had agreed to pay a fine of €100,000 if they were involved in doping cases, as well as compensation for any additional damages that could take place.
Responding to the 30 day suspension, the team manager Gianni Savio said on Wednesday evening that it planned to exercise its right under the regulation to protest the sanction.
“We’ll appeal to UCI for a lifting of the suspension since Article 7.12.1 foresees that the suspension shall be lifted if the team proves to bear no responsibility,” said Savio. “Not only are we totally unrelated to the facts, but we will also provide all the documents demonstrating the measures adopted to fight against doping: from the seminars guided by lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone, the education courses, the many letters sent to all the components of the team, to the signing of the strict internal rules certified by Notary Marco Marvaso.”
The team is a member of the MPCC anti-doping organisation. Under its rules, squads must voluntarily suspend themselves from competition in the case of more than one positive case.
Under its rules, two positives within one calendar year equal one week on the sidelines, three positives equal four weeks and four result in a five week sanction.
The team had a positive test last season. Savio said that under MPCC rules it would sit out August anyway, but that it would appeal to the UCI on point of principle.
It added that Napoleone is proceeding with plans to sue Taborre and Appollonio.