Saunier Duval suspend Piepoli

Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli was on Thursday suspended by his team Saunier Duval

Leonard Piepoli was one of Saunier Duval's best riders at the Giro d'Italia

Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli was on Thursday suspended by his team Saunier Duval after testing positive for the banned substance salbutamol during the Tour of Italy.

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) informed Saunier Duval on Thursday that the climbing specialist’s test had produced higher-than-permitted levels of the drug which is used to treat asthma. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, salbutamol can be taken with proper authorisation but above the allowed levels it is considered to have anabolic effects and is therefore considered as a banned substance.

Last month Piepoli revealed that he did have medical authorisation to use the drug. “I take salbutamol to relieve my allergies,” argued the Italian rider who claimed the King of the Mountains crown at this year’s Giro d’Italia.

But following the strict ethical rules of the UCI ProTour, Saunier Duval suspended their rider for the duration of the investigation by the UCI.

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© AFP 2007