CONI lodge appeal against Petacchi's exoneration

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Thursday lodged an appeal against the decision to clear Alessandro Petacchi of doping by Italy's Cycling Federation (FCI). Italian sprinter Petacchi escaped punishment from the FCI on Tuesday despite being charged with doping by CONI on July 4.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Thursday lodged an appeal against the decision to clear Alessandro Petacchi of doping by Italy's Cycling Federation (FCI). Italian sprinter Petacchi escaped punishment from the FCI on Tuesday despite being charged with doping by CONI on July 4.

CONI had recommended to the FCI that Petacchi be banned from cycling for 12 months after a urine sample he gave at the Giro D'Italia on May 23 showed an unusually high level of salbutamol, a substance primarily used to treat asthma. Ettore Torri, CONI's chief anti-doping prosecutor, has lodged an appeal with Italy's Federal Court of Appeal.

CONI is the governing body for sport in Italy but prefer the relative federations to carry out disciplinary matters.

Salbutamol is a banned substance but riders suffering from asthma are allowed restricted use of the drug if they have a medical certificate. Petacchi, who has such a certificate having suffered from asthma for many years, put the excessive amount of salbutamol in his system that day down to squirting his inhaler too aggressively.

As a result of the investigation, Petacchi was barred from competing in the Tour de France - which started on July 7 - by his Milram team.

The Tour de France has been overshadowed by doping scandals this week which have tarnished the world's greatest cycle race.

© AFP 2007

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