Cycling: Bugno banned for two years

GIANNI BUGNO, the Italian former world champion, has been suspended for two years after testing positive for use of the banned substance, caffeine, the Italian Professional Cycling League said yesterday.

Bugno, winner of two world championship road races, is to appeal. He failed a drugs test after a minor race in Italy on 17 August. Analysis of the B sample at the Italian National Olympic Committee laboratory in Rome last Friday confirmed the test was positive.

The 30 year-old rider has also been fined pounds 1,500 and had 50 points docked from his total in the International Cycling Union rankings.

Bugno has denied taking drugs and said he drank a cup of coffee before the August race. Caffeine is banned as an illicit stimulant above prescribed levels. Italian cycling federation sources said Bugno's sample was about 30 per cent above the limit.

This season, Bugno has been struggling to reproduce the form which earned him the world championship road race titles in 1991 and 1992 and second place in the 1991 Tour de France. He abandoned this year's Tour on the 14th stage and withdrew from the world championship in Sicily last month after injuring his ankle in training.