Two-year ban for Leonardo Piepoli

Italian suspended for Tour de France doping

The Italian Olympic Committee on Monday suspended cyclist Leonardo Piepoli from competition for two years for failing a dope test taken during last year's Tour de France.

37-year-old Piepoli won the 10th stage of the race in the Pyrenees, but in October the French Anti-Doping Agency announced that the Italian 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 on 4 July, one day before the Tour began, and 15 July, the day after Piepoli's stage win.

Piepoli was subsequently fired by his Saunier Duval team for breaking their code of ethics after they had pulled out of the Tour following teammate Ricardo Ricco's positive test for EPO.

Piepoli’s former teammate Ricco, who admitted doping, was also hit with a two-year ban, although he’s taken an appeal to Lausanne's Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the hope of having it reduced.

© AFP 2009

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