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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2010

Cycling: Di Luca banned 2 years for doping

Associated Press

ROME Cyclist Danilo Di Luca was hit with the second doping suspension of his career Monday, a two-year ban for using a blood-boosting drug at last year's Giro d'Italia.

The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping court imposed the ban after Di Luca tested positive for CERA following two stages of the 2009 race. CONI's anti-doping prosecutor had sought a three-year ban.

"I've always said, and I repeat, that I have never taken that substance," Di Luca said.

Di Luca was also fined $400,000 and will have to pay an additional $3,000 to cover testing costs. The ban expires July 21, 2011.

Di Luca's lawyer Enrico De Toni said the cyclist would again appeal to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, adding that they have issues with the method and procedure of the tests.

The 34-year-old Di Luca said he would continue racing no matter the final outcome of the case.

"I'm still capable of racing and obtaining results like I've had up to this point," he said.

Di Luca finished second overall in the Giro behind Denis Menchov. The ban could prompt organizers to rearrange the final standings, moving Franco Pellizotti up to second and Carlos Sastre to third.

Lance Armstrong, who raced the Giro for the first time, stands to move up from 12th to 11th.

Di Luca was suspended for three months in 2007 the year he won the Giro for frequent visits to Carlo Santuccione, a doctor at the center of a four-year doping investigation.

Two years ago, Di Luca was cleared of yet another doping charge relating to the 2007 Giro, when his blood levels were called into question, although without any failed test.