ROME (AP) — The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor requested a life ban for former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca on Monday following the cyclist's third career offense.
Prosecutor Tammaro Maiello issued the request and the case will now be decided by CONI's anti-doping court. The 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year's Giro.
After a hearing with the prosecutor last month, Di Luca did not deny doping, saying that the case "doesn't change much" for his fans. The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad fired Di Luca immediately after the positive test was announced with the Giro nearly finished.
In 2009, Di Luca was given a two-year ban after testing positive during the Giro for CERA, an advanced form of EPO. That ban was subsequently reduced by nine months after he collaborated with Italian anti-doping authorities.
And after winning the 2007 Giro, Di Luca was banned for three months later in the year for frequent visits to Carlo Santuccione, a physician at the center of a four-year doping investigation titled Oil for Drugs.
Di Luca was stripped of his second-place finish and two stage wins in the 2009 Giro, which was won by Denis Menchov, a Russian rider who was never banned for doping but was often linked to banned drug cases.
Seemingly headed for retirement just a few months before this year's Giro, Di Luca signed with Vini Fantini in April — a week before the race began. He fared well in several stages of the Italian classic, with four top-10 finishes.
If he is banned, his results from this year's Giro will be stripped.