PETACCHI FACING ONE-YEAR BAN

ALESSANDRO PETACCHI 2

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) will not start the Tour de France and is unlikely to race until next summer after the Italian anti-doping investigators recommended that he should be given a one-year ban for failing a doping test for Salbutamol.

The Italian investigators recommended the ban on Wednesday afternoon after studying Petacchi?s defence and questioning him on Monday in Rome. A test carried out after Petacchi won the tenth stage of the Giro d?Italia to Pinerolo found a level of 1320ng/ml of Salbutamol. The 33 year-old Italian sprinter suffers from asthma and has a valid therapeutic exemption certificate (TUE) but under UCI and WADA rules an amount of Salbutamol over 1000ng/ml is considered a positive test result.

When questioned on Monday, Petacchi said he hoped the investigators would accept that he used his asthma inhaler in ?good faith? because of bad weather during the stage. However, the investigators recommended a one-year ban because even though they could not be proved that Petacchi took Salbutamol by an illegal means, the level in his urine still exceeded the 1000ng/ml limit.

Petacchi will now face a disciplinary hearing with the Italian Cycling Federation who will decide on his ban. The Milram team said Petacchi will be replaced by Andriy Grivko at the Tour de France.

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