Disgraced Italian Danilo Di Luca is set to return to competition in January 2011 after an anti-doping tribunal at the Italian Olympic Commitee (CONI) reduced a two-year doping ban to 15 months today.
Di Luca, the 2007 Tour of Italy winner, was initially banned for two years after testing positive for the latest generation of the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO-Cera) after finishing runner-up in 2008.
He was handed a 280,000-euro fine and banned until July 21, 2011. However, his collaboration with investigators probing illicit doping methods and practices has allowed him an early return.
Di Luca insisted, however, he implicated no one.
"I gave no names," said the Italian, a former one-day classics specialist. "I did it for (the good of) cycling, not to point the finger at any cyclists. I explained the methods (of doping). My decision to speak was above all to help educate the youth."
Now hoping to find a team and "return to the classics and the Tour of Italy", Di Luca said he is simply happy to go back to work.
"I'm happy because finally I can go back to work as of tomorrow," he added as he left the tribunal.
"In this last year and a half I haven't stopped training. Now I just have to make up for lost time."
© AFP 2010