Danilo Di Luca

Danilo Di Luca

Di Luca in 2005
Personal information
Full name Danilo Di Luca
Nickname The Killer from Spoltore
Born (1976-01-02) 2 January 1976
Spoltore, Italy
Height 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 61 kg (134 lb)
Team information
Current team Suspended
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Climber/Classics Specialist
Professional team(s)
1998 Riso Scotti
1999–2001 Cantina Tollo–Alexia Alluminio
2002–2004 Saeco Macchine per Caffè–Longoni Sport
2005–2007 Liquigas–Bianchi
2008–2009 LPR Brakes–Ballan
2011 Team Katusha
2012 Acqua & Sapone
2013 Vini Fantini–Selle Italia
Major wins

Grand Tours

Giro d'Italia
General classification (2007)
6 individual stages
Vuelta a España
2 individual stages

Stage races

Tour of the Basque Country (2005)

One-day races and Classics

Giro di Lombardia (2001)
Liège–Bastogne–Liège (2007)
Amstel Gold Race (2005)
La Flèche Wallonne (2005)
Tre Valli Varesine (2003)
Milano–Torino (2007)
Giro dell'Emilia (2008)


UCI ProTour (2005)

Danilo Di Luca (born 2 January 1976) is a former Italian professional road racing cyclist, best known for winning the 2007 Giro d'Italia, but also for several positive doping tests, the last of which resulting in a lifetime ban from the sport.

Di Luca is also one of six riders to have won each of the three Ardennes classics; he won the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne in 2005, and Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2007. During his career, Di Luca rode for the Riso Scotti, Cantina Tollo–Acqua e Sapone, Saeco Macchine per Caffè, Liquigas, LPR Brakes–Farnese Vini, Team Katusha, Acqua & Sapone and Vini Fantini–Selle Italia squads.[1][2][3]

Di Luca's career was also dogged by numerous infractions, involving three separate suspensions in relation to doping. In 2007, Di Luca was suspended for three months towards the end of the season, for visiting previously banned doctor Carlo Santuccione, which later escalated into the Oil for Drugs case.[4] In 2009, at the Giro d'Italia, Di Luca tested positive on two different occasions[5] for CERA,[6] and was given a backdated – to July 2009 – two-year ban in February 2010, which was later reduced to nine months.[7][8] His third positive test came just before the 2013 Giro d'Italia, when he tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition test.[9] Di Luca expressed surprise at the test results,[10] but he was given a lifetime ban in December 2013.[11]


Early years

Born in Spoltore, province of Pescara, Di Luca began his professional career in 1998 in the Riso Scotti team. He showed talent by winning the under-23 version of the Giro D'Italia. His first pro win was in 1999, when, moving to Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio, he won the first stage of the Giro d'Abruzzo. He remained in the team taking wins in 2001 such as the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia and the Giro di Lombardia. Then, he transferred to Saeco-Longoni Sport.

During his time at Saeco-Longoni he lost the Vuelta al País Vasco on the last stage, a mountain time trial in which Andreas Klöden took the lead and the win. Combined with injuries and lack of confidence of the team directors, his performance suffered. In 2004 Italian officials investigated Di Luca for doping. Cyclingnews.com said: "Di Luca was recorded in several phone conversations with Eddy Mazzoleni in which he allegedly talked about doping products, the investigation led to Di Luca's non-participation in the 2004 Tour de France."[12][13]


In 2005, Di Luca switched to Liquigas–Bianchi, with Mario Cipollini, Dario Cioni, Stefano Garzelli and Magnus Bäckstedt. He led the team for the spring classics. His first victory came in the first stage of the UCI ProTour race Vuelta al País Vasco, which he won overall after defeating Aitor Osa in the final time trial. He won the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne, taking the ProTour leader's white jersey.

Di Luca was seen as suited to races lasting only a few days. His success in the 2005 Giro d'Italia came as a surprise. Here he won two stages and finished fourth. He finished fifth in the Tour de Pologne. With a fourth in the 2005 Züri-Metzgete, he became 2005 UCI ProTour champion.


Di Luca was forced to retire from the 2006 Tour de France, due to a urinary infection. He recovered to compete in the 2006 Vuelta a España, winning the fifth stage and holding the lead (ceding it to Janez Brajkovič). Di Luca's performances in the classics, the Giro, and other races, were a letdown from the triumphs of 2005.


Di Luca won Milano–Torino in March and Liège–Bastogne–Liège in April. He took stages 4 and 12 en route to the victory in the 2007 Giro d'Italia. After the Giro, it was revealed that Di Luca had unspecified low hormone levels. Italian authorities are determining if they are a consequence of racing at a high level for three weeks or some kind of masking agent.[14] On 28 September, Di Luca withdrew from the UCI road championship calling his treatment "a scandal" after doping allegations.[15]

Di Luca was leading the 2007 UCI ProTour when he was suspended before the final race, the Giro di Lombardia, due to alleged involvement in the Oil for Drugs case, for which he was suspended for three months through the close season.[4]


In 2008, Di Luca had a quiet year as his new team, LPR Brakes–Ballan, were not invited to many races. In 2009, they received a wildcard entry to the Giro d'Italia and Di Luca won the fourth stage.[16] He then came second on the fifth stage, gaining the pink jersey as race leader, and extended his lead by winning the tenth stage. He lost time on the two time trial stages and finished second overall, winning the points classification.

On 22 July 2009, it was announced that Di Luca had tested positive for CERA on 20 and 28 May 2009, during the Giro d'Italia. He was provisionally suspended with immediate effect by the UCI.[6][17] He had been targeted for testing using information from his biological passport's blood profile, previous test results and his race schedule.[18] On 8 August, his positive tests were confirmed. On 1 February 2010, the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) suspended him for two years (effective as of 22 July 2009) for the Giro doping incident. Di Luca must also pay a €280,000 fine, as well as the costs incurred in both the analysis and counter-analysis of his Giro samples: Di Luca indicated his intention to contest the decision.[7]


On 15 October 2010, CONI announced that Di Luca's ban had been reduced to nine months and seven days, allowing Di Luca to return as of that very day (though the season was nearly over). This was due to his reported cooperation with investigators, detailing doping methods. CONI also announced the reduction of Di Luca's fine, from €280,000 to €106,400,[8] but the UCI contends that he will still have to pay the full amount based on when his doping incident occurred.[19] His results from the 2009 Giro were stricken from the record.[20]

In the 2011 season, he competed for Team Katusha, and his performances were somewhat mitigated since he held no victories. His notable results were fourth of the Giro d'Italia's 6th stage and fourth in the Tour de Suisse's first stage.[21]

After the season, Di Luca signed a contract for the 2012 season with Acqua & Sapone.[2]


In April 2013, Di Luca signed for the Vini Fantini–Selle Italia team, who were subsequently awarded a wildcard place to race in the Giro d'Italia. On 24 May, while Di Luca was riding in the Giro, the UCI announced that he had had an adverse finding in an out-of-competition doping test at his home on 29 April. Di Luca was fired by his team who instructed him to leave the race by his own means.[22] He was banned for life by CONI on 5 December. He also had his results stripped from 29 April and ordered to pay a total of €37,985 in fines and costs.[11][23][24]

Career achievements

Major results

1999 Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio
1st, 1 stage, Giro d’Abruzzo
2nd, Giro di Lombardia
2000 – Cantina Tollo
1st, GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano
1st, Trofeo Pantalica
1st, 1 stage, Giro d'Italia
1st, 2 stages, Giro d’Abruzzo
2nd, Vuelta al País Vasco
1st, 1 stage
2001 – Cantina Tollo-Acqua & Sapone
1st, Giro di Lombardia
1st, 1 stage, Giro d'Italia
2nd, 1 stage, Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
1st, Giro d'Abruzzo
1st, 1 stage
2002 Saeco
1st, Giro del Veneto
1st, GP Fred Mengoni
1st, Trofeo Laigueglia
2nd, Tirreno–Adriatico
1st, 2 stages
1st, 1 stage, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st, 1 stage, Vuelta a España
2003 – Saeco
1st, Coppa Placci
3rd, Amstel Gold Race
1st, Tre Valli Varesine
1st, 1 stage, Tirreno–Adriatico
1st, Tour de Ligure
1st, 1 stage
2004 – Saeco
1st, Trofeo Matteoti
1st, Brixia Tour
1st, Stage 4, Vuelta a Murcia
2nd, La Flèche Wallonne
4th, Amstel Gold Race
2005 Liquigas–Bianchi
Champion, UCI ProTour
1st, Amstel Gold Race
1st, La Flèche Wallonne
1st, Overall, Vuelta al País Vasco
1st, Stage 1
4th, Overall, Giro d'Italia
Winner stages 3 and 5
4th, Züri-Metzgete
5th, Overall, Tour de Pologne
2006 Liquigas
1st, Stage 5, Vuelta a España
6th, La Flèche Wallonne
9th, Liège–Bastogne–Liège
9th, Züri-Metzgete
2007 Liquigas
1st, Milano–Torino
3rd, Amstel Gold Race
3rd, La Flèche Wallonne
1st, Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st, Stage 3, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali
1st Overall Giro d'Italia
1st, Stages 4 & 12
2008 LPR Brakes–Ballan
1st, Stage 4 & Overall, Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda
1st, King of the Mountains, Tour of Britain
1st, Giro dell'Emilia
8th Overall, Giro d' Italia
2009 LPR Brakes–Farnese Vini
Settimana Ciclista Lombarda:
1st, Stage 1 Team Time Trial
Giro del Trentino
1st, Stage 4
2nd, Overall Giro d'Italia (results revoked due to doping)
Winner, Points classification
1st, Stages 4 & 10
2012 Acqua & Sapone
1st Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie
4th Overall Tour of Austria
1st Stage 2
2013 Vini Fantini–Selle Italia
6th Giro di Toscana
10th GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano

Grand Tours overall classification results timeline

Grand Tour 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Giro WD WD 24 4 23 1 8 DSQ 69 DSQ
Tour WD WD
Vuelta WD WD 20 WD WD

WD=Withdrew DSQ=Disqualified

See also


  1. "Di Luca Set To Ride For Free With One Year Katusha Deal". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  2. 1 2 "Di Luca confirms Acqua & Sapone for 2012". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  3. "Di Luca signs with Vini Fantini-Selle Italia". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Di Luca given doping suspension". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  5. Susan Westemeyer. "LPR Brakes Fires Di Luca Over Doping Charges". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  6. 1 2 Cyclingnews (2009-07-22). "Di Luca positive for CERA in Giro". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  7. 1 2 "Di Luca given two-year suspension for Giro CERA doping". Cyclingnews.com. Future plc. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Di Luca free to race after CONI reduce ban". Cyclingnews.com. Future plc. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  9. Fotheringham, William (24 May 2013). "Danilo Di Luca faces lifetime ban after testing positive for EPO". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  10. "Di Luca "surprised" by positive test for EPO". Cyclingnews.com. Future plc. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Danilo Di Luca banned from cycling for life after committing third doping offence". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  12. "www.cyclingnews.com - the world centre of cycling". cyclingnews.com.
  13. "www.cyclingnews.com - the world centre of cycling". cyclingnews.com.
  14. "Bikes, Bike Reviews, Cycling Routes, Race News - BikeRadar". BikeRadar.
  15. "www.cyclingnews.com - the world centre of cycling". cyclingnews.com.
  16. "www.cyclingnews.com presents the 92nd Giro d'Italia". cyclingnews.com.
  17. "Italian Di Luca fails doping test". BBC. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  18. "Di Luca positive for CERA in 2009 Giro d'Italia". Bike Radar. 2009-07-22.
  19. "Di Luca Still Faces Fine Of ‚Ź280,000". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  20. UCI – Sanctions, Period of ineligibily and disqualifications 2010
  21. "Danilo Di Luca principaux résultats". les-sports.info. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  22. "Danilo Di Luca: Giro d'Italia cyclist fails doping test". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  23. "Cyclist Danilo Di Luca tests positive for EPO, risks life ban". US News. Associated Press. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  24. "Danilo Di Luca banned for life after EPO positive". VeloNews. 5 December 2013.

External links

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