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Pirazzi banned four years after pre-Giro doping positive

The Italian won't be eligible to race until May 3, 2021, at which point he will be 34 years old.

The UCI sanctioned Italian Stefano Pirazzi with a four-year ban after he failed a drug test ahead of the Giro d’Italia this year.

Pirazzi’s name was added to the UCI’s list of riders with doping offenses this week.

The ban is backdated to April 26, since the doping controls were performed April 25-26.

Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni, his Bardiani-CSF teammate at the time, both tested positive for growth hormone-releasing peptides. They were scheduled to start the Giro for the Pro Continental team, but both were kicked off the squad after their B samples also tested positive.

The UCI has yet to announce a sanction for Ruffoni.

Also Wednesday, the Spanish sports daily MARCA revealed that lawyers of 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez received confirmation that his B-sample returned positive.

Just days before the start of the Vuelta a España, the 39-year-old failed an anti-doping control for the same product as Pirazzi. Sánchez was suspended by his BMC Racing team, and has not spoken publicly about his doping case.

Pirazzi’s lengthy suspension will make him ineligible to race until May 3, 2021, at which point he will be 34 years old. He has yet to comment on the suspension.

After the doping positives were revealed earlier this year, Bardiani-CSF was able to convince the UCI to let it race the Giro — without Pirazzi and Ruffoni, of course.

Pirazzi had been a member of the team his entire professional career, dating back to 2010. Ruffoni rode for several amateur teams before joining Bardiani for the 2014 season. Ruffoni is a sprinter and Pirazzi specializes in climbing, which led to him winning the mountains classification at the 2013 Giro.