Danilo Di Luca – unfit for employment

When it comes to riders who have been caught doping, there are those from a previous generation where such things were considered the norm; there are those who made a mistake and learnt from it; and then there are repeat offenders who simply don’t seem to give a toss.

We could perhaps label that last group ‘dicks’ and they count among their number Danilo Di Luca who was, until this morning, a member of the Vini Fantini team riding at this year’s Giro.

Di Luca served a 15-month ban after testing postitive at the 2009 Giro and a three-month ban after being implicated in a 2007 doping investigation. He also returned a suspect sample at the 2007 Giro and has just tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test which was carried out just before this year’s race.

Who hires a 37-year-old with that kind of record? Vini Fantini signed him just over a month ago and to be fair, pretty much nobody on the team wanted him, other than one of the sponsors.

Team manager, Angelo Citracca, said:

“Danilo Di Luca was not part of our group, was not wanted by the team and was inserted into our set-up by our main sponsor Valentino Sciotti, who out of friendship and regional ties to the rider, insisted upon and created the conditions for his addition to the roster.”

While their directeur sportif, Luca Scinto, said:

“He’s mad, he’s a cretino, he needs treatment. There’s nothing else to say.”

I think as much as this is yet another doping case in cycling, we shouldn’t take it as being indicative of the norm. Danilo Di Luca is a middle-aged cyclist from a previous generation with a shoddy track record who should never have been racing in the first place.

Apparently, he was fired on the spot and told to make his own way home.