It was only a few days ago that we had Vini Fantini-Selle Italia's Mauro Santambrogio wonderful stage 14 victory which ended on the steep slopes of the Jafferau climb in fog, rain and snow. Today the team faces the news that Danilo Di Luca has tested positve for EPO (A sample) and is suspended from this year's Giro.
Di Luca has a long history of doping:
2007: winner of 2007 Giro d'Italia, irregular sample taken during race suggested an illegal blood transfusion; cleared due to insufficient evidence
2009: suspended for positve for CERA during 2009 Giro d'Italia
2011: after suspension rode for Team Katusha for no salary
2012: joined Acqua & Sapone as team captain; team was not invited to 2012 Giro d'Italia (Garzelli, also caught doping in his career was on the team as well)
2013: joined Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
Below is the statement today from Vini Fantini-Selle Italia:
Following of the news Danilo Di Luca's positive result at an out-of-competition test performed on April 29th, the team Vini Fantini Selle Italia through its team manager Angelo Citracca specifies the following: "Danilo Di Luca is an athlete who was not part of our group, not wanted by the team and he was included in organic by our Main Sponsor Valentino Sciotti, for friendship and geographical proximity to the cyclist, he insisted and created the conditions for the inclusion of Di Luca in the team. Danilo Di Luca repeatedly involved in problems related to doping and already disqualified for similar violations, repaid the trust of a friend and great entrepreneur with another mistake, whose consequences damages Vini Fantini Selle Italia team even if it is innocent. The athlete, already returned after a disqualification with other teams, was not included in the philosophy and programs of our team, working for years in the discovery and growing of young athletes. Following the news, learned with regret in the morning, the team has dismissed the athlete, intimating him to get away. At this point, Vini Fantini Selle Italia will ask for a compensation for damages, in accordance with the internal Rules signed by all the members of the team".
The sports director Luca Scinto points out: "I'm devastated, I never wanted Di Luca in the team and I've never made any secret to anyone of this, even receiving some critics. We have built our group on the sacred values of the cycling and we made the mistake to satisfy the request, expressed many times by our main sponsor, who is a uccessful entrepreneur passionate about this sport, to try to give confidence to an athlete dear to him for friendship. Unfortunately this trust has been rewarded with an incredible mistake, which I still can not understand". Echoes the disappointment of Scinto, the deep sorrow of the Main Sponsor, Valentino Sciotti: "What can I say? I believed in man and in the athlete and it is right that I take all the blame because I made a mistake. Maybe I was wrong to believe that after a mistake you can redeem and learn not to repeat the mistakes, maybe I'm wrong to want to help a person I saw in trouble, maybe I was wrong to follow the religious values that my family gave me, maybe I'm wrong in believing that when you talk to a person looking into his eyes, you can also read his heart. I was wrong and I must ask to forgive me the fans, the Team, the other sponsors, my partners and all the other cyclists who are racing Giro d'Italia fairly and honestly and all those young athletes who will be shaken by this news".
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