Giro d’Italia organizers are promising that this year’s race, which starts on Saturday in Amsterdam, will have “the most intensive anti-doping controls in the history of cycling.”
In recent years, the Italian national tour has been plagued by a series of doping scandals that have involved top riders that either test positive at the race itself or were involved in doping cases soon after the completion of the event. Race director Angelo Zomegnan said that the Giro is determined to stop doping in an effort to “protect the health of riders and to restore the image of the Giro – and cycling – in the public’s view.”
Zomegnan said the race will conduct even more anti-doping tests than the 481 that were processed in 2009.
With an increased number of tests, the Giro will rely on four of Europe’s WADA-certified laboratories, including those in Rome, Lausanne, Switzerland, Cologne, Germany and the French national lab at Châtenay-Malabry. Those tests will be monitored by independent observers.
The race has also required that 15 riders from each participating team – nine riders and six named as alternates – have been required to submit samples in advance of Saturday’s start. Those samples will be compared with data on file in connection with the UCI’s biological passport program.
Two of last year’s top three finishers have been involved in doping controversies. Second-place finisher Danilo Di Luca later had his results negated after samples he submitted during the Giro were found to be positive. Third-place finisher Franco Pellizotti was suspended on Monday after the UCI found abnormal variations in his blood values.