The Italian National Anti Doping Organization (NADO) has handed 2019 European Gran Fondo Champion Vincenzo Pisani (ASD CAPITANI MINUTERIE METALLICHE) a three year suspension for deliberately violating the World Anti Doping Code and using the banned substance Recombinant Erythropoietin (EPO).
After testing positive for EPO at a random out of competition test performed at his residence in June, the amateur gran fondo cyclist proclaimed, “I am innocent. I have already asked for a counter analysis and I am sure the truth will come out.”
The truth is out.
Without much fanfare, on 16 September Pisani accepted the NADO doping charges, admitting to EPO use prior to winning Gran Fondo Gavia Motirolo on 27 June and finishing second at the world famous Maratona dles Dolomites Gran Fondo on 4 July.
EPO increases red blood cell production, improving the amount of oxygen blood carries to muscles and can significantly raise VO2 max levels, by 8-12%. Typically, an athlete injects EPO during a pre-race “boosting” period, which decreases the chance of returning a positive test at an event since EPO has a very short time-line for detection. Thus, catching an EPO user requires out of competition testing during an athlete’s “boosting” period.
The three year ban prohibits Pisani from participating in any gran fondo or cycling race from 29 July 2021 until 28 July 2024. In addition, he has been striped of his 2021 results including winning Gran Fondo Gavia Motirolo and his second place finish at Maratona dles Dolomites Gran Fondo.