For a third time in recent years an amateur Falasca cycling team racer has returned a positive anti-doping test for banned substances and has been provisionally suspended by the Italian National Anti Doping Organization (NADO). According to a NADO press release, Gianluca Leonetti tested positive for both Sibutramine and Stanozololo.

Leonetti is also accused of committing anti-doping violations with “aggravating circumstances” via NADO rule 11.4, which, if found guilty, could increase his sentence by two additional years.

11.4 Aggravating Circumstances: If NADO Italia ascertains in a single case of violation of the NSA other than violations of articles 2.7 (Trafficking or attempted trafficking), 2.8 (Administration or attempted administration of prohibited substances or methods), 2.9 (Complicity or attempted complicity) or 2.11 (Actions by part of an Athlete or other Person to discourage or retaliate for reporting to the Authorities) the presence of aggravating circumstances which justify the imposition of a period of ineligibility exceeding the standard penalty, the theoretically applicable ineligibility period is increased by an additional ineligibility period up to two (2) years of disqualification, depending on the severity of the violation and the nature of the aggravating circumstances, unless the Athlete or other Person proves that he did not knowingly commit the violation.

Sibutramine is a serotonin based appetite suppressant which has been used for treatment of obesity, but since 2010 has been banned from sale or use in most countries due to increased risk of cardiovascular events. Since then it has been found as an off-label ingredient in dietary supplements.

Stanozololo is a cheap and popular anabolic steroid that mimics the effects of testosterone to boost muscle growth and quick recovery. It was developed to treat anemia and angiodema. The drug was withdrawn from the market due to various negative side effects, including: menstrual irregularities, acne, atrophy of the breasts in women; impotence, testicular atrophy, prostatic hypertrophy in men; and risk of heart attacks, strokes, liver damage, and psychiatric disturbances in both sexes. The most notable athlete banned for using Stanozololo is Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who tested positive at the 1988 Olympic Games and was stripped of his 100 meter gold medal.

Before being provisionally suspended by NADO, Leonetti closed out the 2022 road season in top form, racing in the M3 category he finished third overall at Criterium Ciociara, a season long series of twelve amateur races.

In addition to Leonetti’s anti-doping violations, two other Falasca racers were previously suspended by NADO after both tested positive for Clostebol, Marco Provera (2021) and Marco Larossa (2019).

Photo Credit: Facebook – Falasca Cycling Team

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