AIGLE, Switzerland (AP)—Cycling’s governing body suspended former Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca on Wednesday after he tested positive for the banned blood-booster CERA.
The International Cycling Union told the Italian rider he was provisionally banned until his national federation can have a disciplinary hearing.
The UCI said Di Luca tested positive in blood samples taken May 20 and May 28 during this year’s Giro, where he won two stages and finished second.
The 33-year-old rider, who won the 2007 race, was targeted for testing because of suspicious results from previous blood and urine samples.
“These adverse findings were a direct result of a targeted test program conducted on Di Luca using information from his biological passport’s blood profile, previous test results and his race schedule,” the UCI said.
Di Luca is the latest Italian cyclist to test positive for CERA, the newest version of the endurance-boosting hormone EPO. It stimulates the production of red blood cells to provide more oxygen to muscles.
Since coming on to the market last year, CERA has been traced in blood samples taken from Riccardo Ricco, Leonard Piepoli and Davide Rebellin.