Over ten months after the UCI announced that Mauro Santambrogio had tested positive for testosterone, the sanction facing the Italian rider has finally been confirmed.
Santambrogio was subjected to an out of competition doping control on October 22 2014, resulting in an A sample finding for testosterone. He was provisionally suspended at the time and now, a year and five days after that test, has been handed a three year ban.
Santambrogio’s case is the second positive test for the Italian. Back in 2013 the then-Vini Fantini rider was subjected to a random control on day one of that year’s Giro d’Italia and this was subsequently determined to contain traces of EPO.
Prior to the result being known he won stage 14 of that race and placed ninth overall, but lost these results due to his positive test.
Facing a two year ban, Santambrogio cooperated with investigators and was handed a reduced suspension.
He had been eligible to return to competition last November, but tested positive once again days before that point.
Despite those double positives and the possibility of a lifetime ban, he has been given 36 months. The UCI didn’t explain the circumstances.
It is unclear if anti-doping authorities believed his claims of innocence. Soon after the news of his testosterone case, he told the Tuttobici website that he had been attending a urologist to try to address fertility problems plus those of impotence. He claimed he had been trying to start a family.
While the UCI required suspended riders to re-enter the testing pool six months prior to a return to competition – and despite Santambrogio’s plans to resume racing in 2015 – his lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone claimed that he had not been on that list.
He also claimed that the drug was not taken with the aim of improving sporting performance.
However, under WADA rules it is banned without exception and a TUE is not available for its use.
He is eligible to return to racing on October 21 2017, but it is unclear if he will do so.
This summer he stated that he was walking away from racing and would instead work with a cycling tourism project in Scansano in Tuscany.