Former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer banned for four years for doping


A former leader of the Tour de France was banned from the sport for four years for a doping offense.

Rinaldo Nocentini, an Italian who has spent much of his career at Ag2r La Mondiale, has been sanctioned by his national anti-doping authority after the discovery of irregularities in his biological passport.

The 43-year-old was sentenced to the maximum penalty by the Italian National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) for “using or attempting to use prohibited methods”.

Nocentini, who retired from the peloton at the end of last season, had irregularities in his biological passport in December 2019, shortly before his retirement.

The Tuscan pilot turned professional with Mapei-Quickstep in 1999 and completed 21 seasons in the professional peloton.

He spent eight years with the French WorldTour Ag2r team from 2007 to 2015, when he resigned to join the continental team of Sporting Clube de Portugal / Tavira, where he remained for the rest of his career.

Nocentini has accumulated 17 victories during his career, including the Giro di Toscana 2003 and a stage in the Tour de Californie 2009, as well as a second place overall in Paris-Nice and a fourth in Tirreno-Adriatico.

During his long career, Nocentini has completed 17 Grand Tours, including two Tours de France and 27 Monuments – 12 departures in Il Lombardia, eight in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and seven editions of the Milan-San Remo Italian Classic.

But his crowning glory was by far the 2009 Tour de France, where he led the race for eight days from stage seven to stage 14, eventually finishing 12th overall as Alberto Contador won the yellow jersey.

He now runs a training center for cyclists in Tuscany.

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The NADO Italia decision was published on Wednesday 2 December, Nocentini having been banned from 20 November 2020 to 29 November 2024.

He was also stripped of all results dating from January 2018, including two stage victories at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo that year.


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