Giro d'Italia: Nicola Ruffoni & Stefano Pirazzi suspended over positive doping tests

Nicola Ruffoni won stage one of the Tour of Austria last year
Nicola Ruffoni won stage one of the Tour of Austria last year

Italian cyclists Nicola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi have been suspended on the eve of the Giro d'Italia after returning positive doping tests.

The Bardiani CSF riders' positive tests took place out of competition and they can request analysis of B samples.

Both were due to ride in the Giro but world governing body the UCI said they were "provisionally suspended" after detection of the growth hormone GHRP.

Bardiani said both would be dismissed if the positive tests are confirmed.

The Italian team, who first competed in 1982 under the name Termolan, will also be suspended for between 15 and 45 days in line with the UCI's anti-doping rules.

Pirazzi topped the Giro mountain classification in 2013. The 30-year-old was tested on 25 April.

Ruffoni, 25, won the points classification at the Tour of Croatia this year and provided a sample a day after his team-mate.

The 2017 Giro is the 100th edition of the event and starts on the island of Sardinia on Friday. The Grand Tour will span 21 stages and finish on 28 May.

Bahrain-Merida's Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali will be defending his title but Movistar's Nairo Quintana of Colombia starts as favourite.

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