CONI questions Petacchi, Di Luca, Mazzoleni; VDB sectioned

Three top Italian stars implicated in doping affairs have to explain themselves. Also, Frank Vandenbroucke forced into psychiatric care in Ieper.

CONI to question Petacchi, Di Luca and Mazzoleni

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will interview Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Di Luca and Eddy Mazzoleni over the next week as part of its inquiries into various doping affairs.

Petacchi will have to explain the presence of high levels (>1000 ng/mL) of salbutamol in his urine following a doping test on May 23rd at the Giro d'Italia. Although the Italian sprinter has a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate to use the drug, his level was still over the allowed limit. According to WADA rules, he will need to prove that his "abnormal result was the consequence of the therapeutic use of inhaled salbutamol."

Petacchi has been suspended by his Milram team until he is cleared, but hopes to race in the Tour de France. He insists that he has done nothing wrong.

Giro winner Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) and Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) will be asked to explain their relationship to Dr Carlo Santuccione, an Italian doctor under investigation for drug trafficking and supply to athletes. The so-called "Oil for drug" affair dates back to 2004, when Di Luca and Mazzoleni rode for Saeco. Di Luca was prevented from starting in the 2004 Tour de France because of the investigation.

Di Luca was also one of four riders to register unspecified low hormone levels in urine tests at this year's Giro. Italian authorities are trying to determine whether the abnormal results are a natural consequence of racing at a high level for three weeks, or some kind of masking agent.

Mazzoleni, who was third in the Giro, will not be racing the Tour de France for Astana. Neither will his teammate Matthias Kessler, who has been suspended after testing positive for a high testosterone:epitestosterone ratio at an out of competition control on April 24. The test was taken a day before La Fleche Wallonne, where Kessler finished fourth.

Astana's line-up for the Tour de France will consist of Antonio Colom (Spa), Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz), Serguei Ivanov (Rus), Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Andreas Klöden (Ger), Daniel Navarro (Spa), Gregory Rast (Swi), Paolo Savoldelli (Ita), Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Reserves: Gennady Mikhailov (Rus), José Antonio Redondo (Spa)

Vandenbroucke sectioned

Frank Vandenbroucke has been forced to enter psychiatric care, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The Belgian, who tried to commit suicide earlier this month, is now in the Heilig Hart clinic in Ieper. It was reported that he went there of his own free will with his father last weekend. But while there he had a change of heart and started uttering threats, forcing the police to intervene. He was considered a danger to himself and others, and will remain there until the justice of the peace allows him to leave.

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