Rogers out; Di Luca date fixed

Michael Rogers suffering from Epstein-Barr virus

Rogers out until at least May

Former world champion Michael Rogers will be out of cycling until at least May after contracting Epstein-Barr virus, Ansa reported Tuesday.

The virus, a type of herpes, could even put an end to the Australian 2003 and 2005 world time-trial champion's entire season. The 28-year-old, based in Varese, Italy has been ordered by his High Road team to take a complete month of rest. He will then face a race against time to be ready for his two major objectives for the season, July's Tour de France and August's Olympic Games.

Rogers also previously contracted the virus in 2001 when riding for Mapei.

CAS set date for Di Luca appeal hearing

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed Tuesday they will examine Tour of Italy champion Danilo Di Luca's appeal against a three-month ban for his connection with a doping scandal on March 20.

The rider was suspended in October 2007 for his association with Italian doctor Carlo Santuccione, the key figure in a scandal known in Italy as 'Oil for drug', dating back to 2004. Santuccione was investigated for allegedly supplying banned substances to Italian sportsmen.

In a separate case, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) are also requesting a two-year ban against Di Luca for providing an abnormal doping test during last year's Tour de Italy.

CAS also confirmed that CONI's appeal against the decision of the Italian cycling federation (FIC) to clear cyclist Alessandro Petacchi of doping would be heard on April 2 and not March 12 as planned.

Petacchi, one of the world's top sprinters who has won stages in all three major Tours, tested positive for elevated levels of the asthma drug salbutamol during last year's Tour of Italy.

© AFP 2008

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