American cycling team fires rider suspected of transporting human growth hormone into Italy

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Italian cyclist Andrea Piccolo was fired Friday by his U.S.-based professional team after he was stopped by Italian authorities while trying to enter the country on suspicion of transporting human growth hormone.

EF Education-EasyPost said that the organization “will cooperate fully with any investigation into the matter, and we encourage Andrea to be open and truthful with anti-doping authorities.”

The news comes one week before the start of the Tour de France in Florence.

The 23-year-old Piccolo is considered one of the up-and-coming stars of the sport. He wore the leader's red jersey for a day at the Vuelta a Espana last year, and he was chosen to race in the Giro d'Italia earlier this year, though he failed to finish.

EF Education-EasyPost said Piccolo was suspended in March for taking a sleeping aid that, while legal, was not approved by the team. It was reported to the UCI, which governs global cycling, and Piccolo served his suspension before returning to the team.


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