Former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca banned for life

It was the Italian cyclists third doping offense

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The Independent Online

Former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca has been banned from cycling for life following a third doping offense, joining Lance Armstrong as one of the highest profile riders to be kicked out of the sport.

The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping court issued the verdict today.

The 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year's Giro.

Di Luca already served a 15-month ban after testing positive during the 2009 Giro for CERA, an advanced form of EPO.

And after winning the 2007 Giro, Di Luca was banned for three months later in the year for frequent visits to a banned physician.

The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad fired Di Luca immediately after his latest positive was announced.