53 year-old amateur cyclist Gianni Panzarini from Latina, Italy has been suspended by the Italian National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) after testing positive for EPO on 18 October where he finished third in a cyclo-cross race.
Panarini is a former European Champion who earned the title after winning the amateur masters xc championship in 2012 in Slovenia. He is also an amateur gran fondo racer, having finished 9th overall at Granfondo dei Monti Lepini in 2015.
After analyzing blood and urine samples collected at the race on 18 October, NADO revealed Panzarini tested positive for three banned doping substances: Prednisone, Prednisolone and recombinant Erythropoietin. The latter, also known as EPO, serves to increase oxygenation by stimulating the production of red blood cells, while the first two are cortisone drugs with anti-inflammatory effects, used by athletes to combat fatigue.
In light of these results, the National Anti-Doping Court, accepting the request of the Anti-Doping Prosecutor’s Office, ordered Panzarini suspension from competition, as a precautionary measure, until his NADO disciplinary hearing scheduled for 18 January 2021. In addition, a criminal procedure is being pursued in the Italian judicial system.