Team Milram announced Friday evening that it has terminated its contract with sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, effective immediately, in light of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's ruling that he had violated doping regulations.
"Every breach of our team policy is going to be penalized," said Gerry van Gerwen, the team's general manager. At the team presentation in January, van Gerwen announced that the team policy was "An immediate suspension in case of a doping suspicion and an immediate dismissal in case of a confirmed doping case."
The CAS ruled on May 6 that Petacchi did not cheat or abuse his asthma medication Salbutamol, but that he was nevertheless in breach of UCI anti-doping regulations. It ordered him suspended for one year, with two months suspended. The ban runs from November 1, 2007, to August 31, 2008.
"Team Milram's policy regarding the breach of UCI rules by any team member is such that team Milram and Mr. Petacchi have decided to terminate the contract. The parties have discussed the consequences of the termination and came to a mutual settlement," according to the team's press release.
The team's sponsor, Nordmilch AG, supported the team's action. "Our position is clear: We explicitly disapprove of any kind of doping. We want clean sports and performance on a natural basis," Martin Mischel, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer said in a statement released Friday evening. "We have discussed the present judgement against Alessandro Petacchi distinctly with the team management and approve of the resulting separation of Team Milram from Alessandro Petacchi. The consistent compliance of the mutually passed anti-doping course is an important pillar of our sponsorship agreement."