May 27, 2010 / 5:05 PM / 8 years ago

De Bonis first to be banned based on biological passport

Gerolsteiner team rider Francesco De Bonis of Italy cycles to win the fourth stage of the Tour de Romandie cycling race in Zinal May 3, 2008. De Bonis has become the first cyclist to be given a doping ban because of discrepancies in his biological passport. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian Francesco De Bonis has become the first cyclist to be given a doping ban because of discrepancies in his biological passport.

The Italian Olympic Committee suspended him for two years after a request from the International Cycling Union (UCI).

“The UCI emphasises the historic importance of this first judgement under the scope of the biological passport programme, introduced by the UCI in 2008,” the UCI said in a statement on Thursday.

A biological passport is an electronic record where the results of all doping tests by a rider over a period of time are collated and compared.

Cycling has been rocked by a series of doping scandals in recent years and the UCI has redoubled its efforts to clean up the sport.

Franco Pellizotti, one of the favourites for this year’s Giro d’ Italia, was pulled out before the start of the race this month when the UCI said there were problems with his biological passport and asked for an investigation.

Spanish rider Antonio Colom Mas has also been given a two-year doping ban, the UCI added.

(Reporting by Mark Meadows and Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Wildey;

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