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Petacchi cleared
The Italian Cycling Federation absolves Alessandro Petacchi from doping blame.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2007 15:10 GMT

Alessandro Petacchi stands in the corridor after his hearing with Italian cycling officials regarding a failed doping test at the Giro d'Italia [AFP]

The Italian Cycling Federation has absolved Alessandro Petacchi of any blame after a dope test during May's Giro d'Italia showed excessive levels of salbutamol.
 
The 33-year-old was forced to miss the Tour de France after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the country's anti-doping body, had asked the federation to impose a one-year ban.
However, the federation has turned down the request after Petacchi attended a hearing in Rome.
 
The Milram rider has a medical certificate to use a set amount of salbutamol for his asthma and said he should be spared a ban because any overuse was human error.

"After a 12-year career, 140 races won, I can only say that I had no reason to ruin my career with a Ventolin (inhaler). At the last Giro d'Italia I did nothing different from all the other times," said Petacchi, who won five stages of this year's Giro.

Cycling has been dogged by numerous doping scandals and CONI has been relentless in its bid to clean up the sport by probing Italian riders and the Giro, widely regarded as the second most important race after the Tour.

The 2006 Giro champion Ivan Basso is serving a two-year ban for attempted doping.

Danilo Di Luca, who won this year's race, is waiting to hear if he faces a suspension for his links to a doctor alleged to have supplied doping products to athletes.

Di Luca denies any wrongdoing.

However, the cycling fraternity was surprised by CONI's hard line with Petacchi and the federation's decision not to ratify their request for a suspension may cause friction.

Source:
Agencies
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