Italian Di Luca's positive CERA test confirmed

Team LPR rider Danilo Di Luca of Italy warms up past Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica before the last stage of the Giro d'Italia in Rome May 31, 2009. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito/Files

ROME (Reuters) - Danilo Di Luca’s positive test for the banned blood booster CERA during May’s Giro d’Italia has been confirmed by analysis of the B sample, the Italian Cycling Federation said on Saturday.

“The Italian Cycling Federation confirms that it has received the file from the International Cycling Union in which the findings of the Paris Laboratory (that did the original tests) are confirmed,” read a federation statement.

The statement added the material had been forwarded to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) so it can start disciplinary proceedings.

Di Luca, the 2007 Giro champion who was runner-up in this year’s race, now faces a lengthy ban having been provisionally suspended when the news of the positive test came out.

The 33-year-old said he was innocent and suggested there could have been an unintentional mix-up with his tests, having indicated he would quit if the B sample was also positive.

The rider served a three-month ban in late 2007 after CONI found him guilty of frequenting a doctor accused of supplying doping products to athletes.

Last year CONI tried to ban him for two years for having abnormal hormone levels during the 2007 Giro but he was cleared after much legal wrangling.