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Italian Cyclists Suspended For Doping

The International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body of cycling, has announced Italians Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni were thrown out of the 100th Giro d'Italia after they tested positive for a derivative of banned growth hormones.

Both cyclists are a part of the all-Italian Bardiani team and face being "immediately sacked," just hours after a glitzy pre-race presentation on the seafront at Alghero.

It was remarked by the UCI that the riders tested positive for GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) in samples collected in the scope of out-of-competition controls on 25 and 26 April 2017, respectively.  GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) are classified as “Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics” as per the World Anti-Doping Prohibited List 2017.  The world governing body of cycling also remarked that it will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision against the team in due course.

In a statement, the Giro bosses confirmed they would honor the suspensions. They said the management of Giro d'Italia, following the suspension of the two runners Nicola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi Bardiani of CSF by the UCI, firmly reconfirms its support to the CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) UCI in the fight against doping in all its forms and methods. The statement also reads that the same direction and RCS Sport reserve to protect in the appropriate for the image and good name of the Giro d'Italia even if the counter-analysis should give a positive result.

Pirazzi and Ruffoni have the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample but they have been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the respective affair.

The 30-year-old Pirazzi won the best climber's competition at the Giro in 2013 and won a stage to Vittorio Veneto in 2014. The 26-year-old Ruffoni is in his fourth year as a professional.

The positive tests of Pirazzi and Ruffoni could lead to the suspension of the entire Bardiani team for a period of 15-45 days. The cycling's world governing body remarked it will move to suspend the team per its anti-doping rules. In a statement, the UCI said these constitute the first and second adverse analytical findings for members of the UCI Professional Continental Team Bardiani CSF within a twelve-month period. It was added that therefore article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules providing for the suspension of the team from 15 days to 45 days will be applied.

The team said they were shocked to learn about the doping test failures and will sack the pair if a counter analysis confirms the initial results. In a statement, team managers Bruno and Roberto Reverberi said we are absolutely shocked by this news and added the riders are now no longer part of our team for the Giro d'Italia and have been suspended from all activity, in accordance with the UCI rules. The statement further reads that we will await the results of future tests, in accordance with the anti-doping rules, but we reaffirm our intention to safeguard the values that have allowed our team project to develop in recent years.

The Giro d'Italia starts in Alghero on Friday and ends in Milan on May 28th.

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Albert Wolfgang
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