Alessandro Petacchi has been given a two-year ban for doping violations dating back to 2012 and 2013, with the Italian stripped of his results during that period.
The UCI announced that the decision was made based on information received from law enforcement authorities in Austria, who have been leading the Operation Aderlass doping investigation.
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Petacchi has been sanctioned with a period of ineligibility for two years due to use of prohibited methods/substances despite having retired in 2015 after the Giro d’Italia.
He has also had his results between 2012-2013 disqualified, although in that period he only registered wins at Bayern-Rundfahrt, winning three stages and claiming the points classification.
In May riders were pulled from the Giro and Tour of California after the UCI published names linked to Operation Aderlass. Kristijan Koren (Bahrain-Merida) and Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) were two riders named alongside Bahrain-Merida assistant sports director Borut Božič.
At the time Petacchi denied involvement in the blood doping investigation, despite allegations being published in European newspapers. However, the Italian was immediately suspended by the UCI and given seven days to provide an initial defence and had to halt working for Italian broadcaster RAI at the Giro d’Italia.
According to a press release translated from Italian, Petacchi rejects the doping allegations but choose to close the case to avoid legal expenses while also taking into consideration the health of his wife.
Despite retiring in 2015, two years after he retired as a lead sprinter and terminated his contract with Lampre-Merida, Petacchi has ridden a UCI event this year, the South African Cape Epic mountain bike race.
During his career, the 45-year-old won six stages at the Tour de France, 22 Giro stages, and 20 Vuelta a España victories, as well as the points classification in all three races. He also took one-day victories at Milan-San Remo in 2005, Paris-Tours in 2007 and Schelderprijs in 2009.
The Italian previously served a nine-month ban for a positive test for salbutamol in 2007. The court later said he had not cheated on purpose but had not taken enough care when taking his asthma drug.