Petacchi races on in Tour despite investigation

Alessandro Petacchi wins stage, Tour de France 2010 stage 1

Alessandro Petacchi will continue in the Tour de France despite being part of a doping investigation at home in Italy. He is one of the top favourites for the green jersey competition, which he trails by four points to rival Thor Hushovd.

"If someone is positive, he should go home and have his suspension," said Hushovd, "but you have to have proof."

Padova prosecutor, Benedetto Roberti is working on the proof. Prior to the Tour de France, he sent Petacchi a registered letter that he is under investigation for doping and has since passed his information to head prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Ettore Torri.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Petacchi is accused of using synthetic blood Perfluorocarbon (PFC) and human serum albumin, which is used to lower EPO levels.

Petacchi's lawyer said his rider was not informed of the investigation until July 12, after the Tour de France started on July 3. Regardless, Petacchi will meet with Roberti after the race and he has the support of his team.

Team Lampre-Farnese said yesterday that it would continue to support Petacchi until it receives further information, giving no indication that it would send Petacchi home.

Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich were sent home prior to the 2006 Tour de France when they were linked to Operación Puerto, Danilo Di Luca was not allowed to start the 2004 race due to Oil for Drugs and Michael Rasmussen was forced out of the race while leading in 2007 for lying about his whereabouts prior to the race.

"Will they send me home? I hope not. I have battled and gave my all. I will try not to think about it," said Petacchi yesterday.

"I will try to face the stages with the same grit, I can't make any compromises. I have a Tour to finish."

Petacchi won the stages to Brussels and Reims and will aim for the next two possible sprint stages, Bordeaux and Paris. If he wins one or places highly, he has a chance to win the final green jersey in Paris in four days.

In Italy, though, Roberti is fighting a different battle.

Police searched Petacchi's home and two other locations owned by his wife in April. Investigators did not find anything in their raids, but in a simultaneous raid, they did find banned substances at team-mate Lorenzo Bernucci's home. Bernucci is currently suspended by team Lampre.

"It's not my stuff and it was not found in my home. I don't know why I am accused of using those two substances," said Petacchi. "If they were found at my home then I would not start the race today [Tuesday]."

Petacchi may be linked to Doctor Filippo Manelli. In separate drug raids, all headed by Roberti, police found prescriptions and banned substances with Manelli's name on them.

Filippo Manelli is linked to Italian Davide Rebellin (found positive for EPO after winning a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics) and Bruno Leali (head of Italian amateur team who was kicked out of the GiroBio last month following a drug raid).

Police raided Manelli's home and several other locations June 29 as part of Roberti's investigation.

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Armstrong has his last go in the Tour

Tour's points leader Petacchi investigated for doping

Contador issues video apology to Schleck

Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower

Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem

Wiggins at 2010 Tour: "I haven't got it"

Basso wins Tour's acceptance; podium spot next goal

Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds

Can Cav win without Renshaw?

Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour's top

Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish's win

Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour

Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?

Cavendish in a 'must win' situation for Tour's green jersey

Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut

Roche alongside Tour's top men ahead of Pyrenees

Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?

Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage

Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey

Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win

Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban

Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks

Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour

Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour's white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Tour 2010 wallpaper

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage 16 video highlights

Stage 15 video highlights

Stage 14 video highlights

Stage 13 video highlights

Stage 12 video highlights

Stage 11 video highlights

Stage 10 video highlights

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special


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