In his book, Bestie da Vittoria, former Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca says that he had to dope, otherwise he would not have won.
Di Luca received a lifetime ban in December 2013 after failing his third anti-doping control in a career that included the 2007 Giro d’Italia and wins in all three Ardennes Classics.
“I could not have not doped,” Di Luca said in an excerpt from the publisher. “Doping improves your performance between 5 and 7 per cent, and maybe 10 to 12 per cent when you are in a peak shape. If I had never doped, I wouldn’t have ever won.”
Di Luca last raced the 2013 Giro d’Italia, where a control showed he used EPO.
“Doping is not addictive, but it is an instrument of power: who wins brings in the money. To himself, to the team and the sponsors,” Di Luca said in an excerpt published by Tutto Bici.
He said he started taking drugs in his fourth year as a professional, in 2001, after seeing the riders he used to beat as an amateur ride away to victories.
“Testosterone, EPO, cortisone. The doctor cannot get the prescription so then you acquire them on your own, in gyms or on the internet. Environments everyone knows,” he said.
“It’s part of the job. If you get caught, then you timed it wrong because everyone knows how many hours must pass before you won’t show a positive. ”
Di Luca tested positive for blood booster EPO on April 29, 2013, in a pre-Giro control. It was the third time in a colourful career. When he won the 2007 edition, he returned suspicious urine tests along the way, but escaped consequences. The 2004 Oil for Drugs investigation showed he used EPO, however, and he served a three-month ban. He was caught using EPO again after the 2009 Giro, where he had won two stages.