Piepoli fails to show for doping hearing

Disgraced Italian rider due to face EPO charges

Disgraced Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli failed to turn up for his Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) doping hearing today, Italian news agency Ansa has reported.

Piepoli was due to face charges that he had taken the new generation of the blood booster EPO during the Tour de France in July.

The 37-year-old did not actually fail a dope test during the Tour, during which he won the 10th stage, but he was fired by his Saunier Duval team for breaking their code of ethics after they had pulled out of the Tour following team-mate Ricardo Ricco's positive test for EPO.

However, on October 6 the French Anti-Doping Agency announced that Piepoli had tested positive for CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator) – the new generation of EPO – in two re-tested samples from the Tour.

The two samples were taken from July 4, one day before the Tour began, and July 15, the day after Piepoli's stage win.

Piepoli has already appeared before Coni to give evidence in the case against Ricco, who admitted to doping and was handed a two-year ban by Coni on October 2.

Piepoli has always denied taking any banned substances despite a Spanish newspaper report claiming he had admitted to using CERA.

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