Italian amateur cyclist Flavio Pagliaccia tested positive for testosterone and anabolic agents following a control ordered by NADO Italia on April 6, 2019.
He was provisionally suspended, but that did not stop him from racing.
On September 10, 2019 Pagliaccia tested positive again, this time for Benzoilecgonina – cocaine.
It gets embarrassingly worse, “Pagliaccia” means “Clown” in English.
PagIiaccia started his season at the 81km Gran Fondo del Po in February, where the 37-year old CYKELN TEAM ASD racer finished 14th overall out 606 riders .
When testing positive a few weeks later in April, Pagliaccia commented on social media (translated), “I would never have found myself having to justify myself for such a thing but it happened … I used this product unconsciously without any doping writing but apparently in Italy it is..even if we are having the product analyzed and suspended in via precautionary I SELF-SUSPENSION me from any charge of juvenile selector [note: he was the Tuscany Regional Cycling Youth Recruiter] …. needless to say that I thought it was not a doping product (The results speak for themselves) but the law does not admit Ignorance for which I assume all the responsibilities of what happened.”
Included with his post was a picture of a DHEA dietary supplement (DHEA is banned), which he said he unconsciously used and was contaminated.
This same “Contaminated Dietary Supplement” defense was used by ex-Pro rider Tom Danielson in 2015 when he tested positive for “an anabolic agent.”
Anti-doping scientists believe DHEA might be used to mask other forms of doping. When mixed with testosterone, DHEA can make testing more challenging, because it is difficult to discern whether an athlete took DHEA solo, or DHEA and testosterone together. Thus, allowing athletes to use the “Contaminated Dietary Supplement” defense.
It did not work for Danielson, nor Pagliaccia.
On October 21, 2019 NADO Italia banned Pagliaccia 4 years from competition for the April positive test.
NADO has not ruled on the September positive test yet and Pagliaccia has not commented.