43 year-old Sergio Viola (ASD TEAM MEDIA BIKE), who finished 5th in the medio race at Italy’s Ti-Rex Granfondo del Penice on June 2, tested positive for the substance NESP (Darbepoetin) in a test carried out on July 7 according to the Italian National Anti Doping Organization.
Based on the test results, he has been provisionally suspended from competition pending the outcome of a hearing.
NESP Darbepoetin is an ‘improved’ form of EPO that is a longer lasting and more effective form of EPO, which boosts oxygen flow by increasing red bloods in the body. It is used to treat people with chronic kidney issues.
As it is not naturally produced by the body, it is quite easy to detect.
It is manufactured by Amgen, title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California professional race.
Viola is not the only Granfondo del Penice rider to test positive for banned substances, 3rd place finisher Guido Paolo Dracone (ASD CICLO COPRARO) tested positive for EPO last week.