ALGHERO, Italy — Two riders from the Italian team Bardiani CSF have been kicked out of the Giro d'Italia on the eve of their nation's biggest race after testing positive in an out-of-competition doping test.
The UCI, the sport's governing body, said Thursday (Friday, Manila time) that Nicola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi returned positive tests for growth hormone-releasing peptides in samples collected last week.
The riders have the right to have their B samples tested but have been provisionally suspended from competition. That means neither will be at the Giro's start line Friday on the island of Sardinia.
Bardiani CSF also faces a suspension because both riders are from the pro continental team, and team managers Bruno and Roberto Reverberi said they were "shocked" by the positive test.
"The riders are now no longer part of our team for the Giro d'Italia and have been suspended from all activity," the managers said in a statement. "We will await the results of future tests in accordance with the anti-doping rules, but reaffirm our intention to safeguard the values that have allowed our (team) project to develop in recent years."
The 30-year-old Pirazzi won the mountains classification in 2013 and a stage the following year in the first of the three Grand Tours. The 26-year-old Ruffoni is considered one of the team's top up-and-coming riders after recent stage wins at the Tour of Croatia.