Androni Giocattoli rider Massimo Giunti is provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test. Ladies and gents, let’s cue the fake outrage.
“It’s a bitter blow and I’m shocked but it’s strange too,” said team manager Gianni Savio.” Shocked and strange are two amusing and ironic words, coming from Mr. Savio. Riders on his teams have a long history of doping violations and suspensions.
Last year, it was Davide Rebellin who was nailed for using the blood booster CERA EPO. Before that it was Michele Scarponi, who confessed to doping in connection with the Operacion Puerto case.
Also on the bad-boy list at Savio’s Androni Giocattoli squad is Francesco de Bonis, who tested positive for EPO in the first stage of the 2009 Giro d’Italia.
Then let’s not forget another Savio rider, Giuseppe Muraglia, who returned to racing this year following a two-year suspension for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
And we’d be remiss if we left out sprinter Danilo Hondo, popped for doping in 2005, but who rode for Savio on the Diquigiovanni-Androni team, an earlier version of his latest squad.
So shocked and surprised would not be the words Twisted Spoke would have selected. Cynical, dishonest and preposterous might be a better fit. Gianni Savio is from the old school, wink-wink days of Italian cycling.
The man just can’t believe his riders keep doing that thing with the pointy needles and illegal juices. By golly, he just has no clue what’s going on and he’s simply an honest man victimized by his own naive trust.
After all, the Androni Giocattoli team has a stringent, no tolerance policy against doping. According to Savio, they devote half a day to a course on anti-doping. That’s right, a full half day at training camp before it’s off to the races. Somewhere Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters is shaking his head in disbelief.
“We keep telling the riders, especially the ones who rode in the old days, that the world of cycling has totally changed,’ said Savio. Not totally, not by a long shot. As long as there are ethically ambiguous team managers like Savio, the old system lives on.
No surprise or shock there.