Italians Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni will not start the Giro d’Italia Friday after it was revealed that they each failed out of competition anti-doping tests. Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport first reported the news late Thursday. The UCI confirmed that Ruffoni and Pirazzi tested positive for growth hormone-releasing peptides in out-of-competition controls on April 25 and 26, respectively.
Both riders were slated to start the 100th Giro for Italian Pro Continental team Bardiani-CSF. This rules violation could put the entire team’s Italian campaign in jeopardy. The UCI said that it will move to suspend the team, per its anti-doping rules.
“These constitute the first and second AAFs [adverse analytical findings] for members of the UCI Professional Continental Team Bardiani CSF within a twelve-month period,” the UCI’s statement read. “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.”
In the 2016 Giro, Bardiani’s Giulio Ciccone won stage 10. He is slated to start the Italian tour.
Bardiani officials said they were “shocked” by the news, and confirmed they will sack the pair if a counter analysis confirms the initial results.
“We are absolutely shocked by this news,” team managers Bruno and Roberto Reverberi said in a statement. “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.
“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.” As is customary, the riders in question have been provisionally suspended and will be allowed to request a test of their respective “B” samples.
In a written statement Giro organizers expressed support for the investigation and noted, “The Giro d’Italia’s race direction and RCS Sport reserves the right to take any appropriate measure to protect the image and the name of the Giro d’Italia.”
Pirazzi, 30, won stage 14 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia and won the mountains classification the 2013 Giro. His 26-year-old teammate, Ruffoni, most recently won stages 3 and 4 at the Tour of Croatia.