Petacchi to turn to human rights court?

Alessandro Petacchi, currently suspended and without a team, longs to make his come-back in the...

Alessandro Petacchi, currently suspended and without a team, longs to make his come-back in the Vuelta a España this summer. The former Milram star sprinter is banned from racing until August 31 for the excessive use of asthma drug Salbutamol, but wants his suspension lifted one day earlier in order to take the start in the Spanish Grand Tour, beginning August 30.

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) is willing to give him a 48-hour discount, saying that his infringement does not count as premeditated doping as the rider 'only' used his inhaler excessively on that fatal day of the Giro d'Italia 2007, May 23. This point of view was also adopted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last August, even though they upheld the suspension.

But the International Cycling Union (UCI) is blocking the procedure. President Pat McQuaid has made known that he would not consent to any form of shortening of Petacchi's suspension, which is why the rider is now reported to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg, France. This court was established to monitor compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe.

Should Petacchi's bid be successful, the rider would still need a new team to race for. At the moment, It has been suggested that the Italian may ride for Tinkoff, Barloworld or the possible new teams of Gianluigi Stanga or Emanuele Bombini.

The details of the Petacchi case can be found here.

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