CAS suspends Petacchi until end-August

Italian paying price for salbutamol positive

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled Tuesday that Italian cycling sprint king Alessandro Petacchi will be ineligible to compete in competitions until August 31, 2008 over a doping case.

The 34-year-old Petacchi tested positive for the drug salbutamol in May last year during the Tour of Italy.

The Italian Cycling Federation cleared him of wrong-doing, putting the non-negative result down to human error, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) took the case to CAS and asked that he be banned for two years.

"CAS has ruled that Alessandro Petacchi is ineligible to compete for a period of one year, less two months already served. Therefore, the period of ineligibility will run from 1 November 2007 to 31 August 2008," the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.

Petacchi said on Saturday that he would not compete anyway in this year's upcoming Tour of Italy because of bronchitis.

The Italian is one of the greatest sprinters of all time having won 24 Giro stages, including an incredible nine in 2004 alone. He has also enjoyed more than 150 wins during his illustrious career.

© AFP 2008

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