cycling, doping, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, Mauro Santambrogio, Giro dItalia, Italy
The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team at the 2013 Giro d'Italia (Sirotti)
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So here we are again, another Giro d'Italia positive, another Italian, and another from the same Pro Continental team, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia.

A couple of weeks ago it was Danilo Di Luca who fell foul to the drug testers, this week it's the turn of team mate Mauro Santambrogio, who won the 14th stage of the first Grand Tour of the season.

There was the usual opprobrium from all quarters, as there was with Di Luca. It's a rising chorus when you add the immediate responses published to social media.

"Of course I am not happy, but I am not even surprised," said Giro d'Italia race organiser Michele Acquarone to TuttobiciWeb.it. "The nice thing is that the group is rebelling. The peloton is no longer accepting these things."

And for the second time in as many weeks we read the same old lamentations coming from Vini Fantani boss, Luca Scinto, who was apparently "distraught" with the situation.

“Everything’s finished, the whole project is finished,” Scinto told Tuttobiciweb.it. “What do you want me to tell you, I’m distraught, I’m ruined. I defended him like no other rider before because from (the Giro start in) Naples there were awful rumors about him going around the peloton.

“I didn’t want to believe them and on more than one occasion I had a face-to-face with him. He told me, ‘It’s only jealousy, Luca, calm down. But you can’t keep asking me these questions because they’re offensive'.

“What can I say? We’re distraught, myself and Angelo (Citracca, the team manager), because we know perfectly well it’s a mortal blow.”

Two weeks ago Scinto sounded like this: “I’m devastated. I never wanted Di Luca in the team. We have built our group on the sacred values of cycling and made the mistake of complying with a request, expressed many times, by our main sponsor ... who asked us to have faith in an athlete who was a dear friend of his.”

In the aftermath of the announcement we are hearing that just about everyone in the Giro peloton and organisation suspected Santambrogio of doping.

Sorry, but I'm calling BS on Luca Scinto, and here's why.

We published a link to the Santambrogio news article on our Facebook page and the comments came fast and furious. Surprisingly one of them was made by Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers boss, Andrew Christie-Johnson.

It's rare that a team boss sticks his head above the parapet of the peloton, but as Aquarone said, there is less acceptance of the status quo these days.

"We raced this team in Kumano (Japan) just days ago. They managed to talk themselves out of a random test on the last stage. Said they would miss their flights home," Christie-Johnson wrote.

"Eight hours later we had tea with them prior to their departure from Japan. Didn't seem in any rush then.

"Seemed very wrong that the Japan drug testers just took their (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) rider off the random list for the stage and swapped it to another rider from another team, especially in light of what's just happened."

Christie-Johnson later added: "This team should have their license withdrawn."

I agree with Christie-Johnson, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia should have its licence revoked, but not on the basis of two positive tests in just a couple of weeks, but because Scinto thinks we're stupid enough to believe his crocodile tears.

This is also a good moment for the International Cycling Union to show its apparently new colours. Sack the team immediately and start asking some hard questions of the race organisers in Japan.



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