Friday, May 24, 2013

Giro d'Italia UPDATE: stage 19 canceled; Di Luca EPO positive

Friday May 23, 2013

Snow on the high mountain passes yesterday
This morning came with a double-shot of bad news for the Giro d’Italia. First, what was once planned to be among the most challenging stages of the race, stage 19 has been canceled entirely due to snow and unsafe road conditions.  Organizers had released a modified route plan last night, but now the weather has superceded that modification.

Race officials released the following statement:
"Due to adverse weather conditions and, in particular, snow on the stage route in its entirety, stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal, has been cancelled,"

No word yet on the likelihood of tomorrow’s “20th” stage being run. As of this writing, they have canceled the first three planned climbs.

 Here is the revised stage 20 profile:

Saturday's revised sage 20 profile--for now.

 While it was looking unlikely that anyone would successfully challenge Vincenzo Nibali’s race lead before the finish on Sunday, several other competitions within the race are still being hotly contested. Carlos Betancur and Rafal Majka have been wrestling over the white Young Rider’s Jersey, with Betancur currently trailing Majka by a mere two seconds.  The Points Jersey, Intermediate Sprint competition and the Combativity competition are all still close races.

 The second piece of bad news is the positive control for EPO returned by Danilo Di Luca.  The Italian was riding very well considering he only had a few racing days in his legs prior to the start of the Giro. He had suggested that good winter training was responsible for his good form. The positive doping result came from an out of competition test conducted on April 29th,, before the start of the Giro d’Italia.

Danilo Di Luca is going home
With a number of previous suspicious results, as well as a positive for CERA at the 2009 Giro d’Italia—for which he served a 15-month suspension—It is likely that this marks the end of the 37-year-old’s professional cycling career. Di Luca has been provisionally suspended by his team, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia. He had been riding in 26th place overall in this edition of the Giro, but had collected top-ten finishes on four separate stages, not including the team time trial.

More news will be posted when available.

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