Since the beginning of 2023 the Italian National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) has been testing more amateur MTB riders, and finding more potential anti-doping violations. On 8 May NADO preliminarily suspended a third MTB rider associated with ASD Team Giannini, Giuseppe Maiello, after anti-doping test samples he submitted allegedly revealed the presence of Furosemide, a banned substance.
Doctors usually prescribe Furosemide to treat high blood pressure and edema (fluid retention) caused by various medical problems, including heart, kidney, and liver disease.
Furosemide, however, is included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of banned substances because it can also be used by athletes to mask the presence of performance-enhancing drugs in urine and/or excrete water for rapid weight loss as a diuretic.
As a masking agent, it helps an athlete’s body get rid of evidence of doping through urination before testing occurs. In sports where lower body weight enhances performance (i.e. endurance cyclists), using a diuretic like Furosemide can significantly improve performance.
WADA defines a positive test result for Furosemide as urinary concentrations greater than 20 ng/mL, since trace amounts have been found as contaminants in some legitimate pharmaceutical products available by prescription and over the counter.
Based on published results, Maiello is a long-time MTB XC gran fondo racer now competing in the Masters 3 category. Two other Team Giannini riders, Federico Rispoli and Dr. Luigi Ferritto, have also been accused of anti-doping violations this year, with Rispoli recently receiving a five-year ban and Ferritto preliminarily suspended pending a court hearing.
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