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Alessandro Petacchi opts for Worlds over Tour de France, French and Belgian police smash major dope

Alessandro Petacchi opts for Worlds over Tour de France, French and Belgian police smash major dope
PICTURE TDWSPORT.COM Alessandro Petacchi will not take part in this year's Tour de France, preferring instead to focus on the world championships in Madrid, where the city centre course should suit the sprinters. Petacchi is committed to riding the Giro d'Italia in May at the insistence of his Fassa Bortolo team sponsors. Speaking to L'Equipe, Petacchi said: "I've been to see the (Madrid) course with (Italian coach) Franco Ballerini. It's harder than the one at Zolder (in 2002), with a hill about 400 metres long and an uphill finish that will suit sprinters like Zabel, Freire and Boonen. But the problems on the course aren't insurmountable. The fastest riders will all be up there and I aim to be at the peak of my form. I will not have another chance like this in my career to win the rainbow jersey." Petacchi will prepare for the Worlds by riding the Vuelta, which finishes a week before the road race championship takes place in Madrid on September 25. - French and Belgian police have smashed a drug trafficking ring that had been supplying amateur riders in both countries with doping products. Twenty-five people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the ring, most of them in the south-west of France. According to statements made by the French police, the ring was headed by a 62-year-old Belgian man and his son, and was supplying products to amateur and semi-pro riders. No names of those involved have yet been released. Police found 93 vials of 'pot belge' (a mixture of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and caffeine) and more than 10,000 euros in cash during a raid conducted in the Lot region of France. Police reported that the products were being brought into France from Belgium, where six of the 25 arrests have taken place. The investigation started after a French rider tested positive last year and agreed to provide the inquiry with details of how he came by the products he had been using. A number of suspects were arrested while in the middle of buying and selling products at French motorway junctions.
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