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Petacchi unsure of status of doping investigation

By:
Barry Ryan
Published:
November 21, 2010, 13:50 GMT,
Updated:
November 21, 2010, 14:05 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 22, 2010
 Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was a somewhat controversial starter at this year's Vuelta.

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was a somewhat controversial starter at this year's Vuelta.

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Italian determined to ride three Grand Tours in 2011

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) has said that he is still waiting to hear if the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will refer or drop an inquiry against him concerning dopöing allegations. .

In June, Petacchi was placed under investigation by Italian police as part of a widespread doping probe, while in September it was reported that CONI was deliberating on whether to refer or drop its own inquiry.

“I know less than you,” Petacchi said, according to Ciclismoweb.net. “I haven’t heard anything more from anybody. Time is dragging on too much, but I want to stay calm because I’m at peace with my conscience."

Petacchi has been accused of using PFC (Perfluorocarbon), which boosts the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood without raising haematocrit level, and human serum albumin, which can be used to reduce haematocrit levels artificially. He has already served a suspension for a positive test for salbutamol in 2007 and so any new doping infraction would incur further sanctions that would effectively end the sprinter’s career.

When his former LPR Brakes teammate Danilo Di Luca had his suspension for CERA use reduced by CONI in October as a result of his collaboration with investigators, he publicly denied having named Petacchi during meetings with prosecutor Benedetto Roberti.

Petacchi didn’t travel to the Tour de France route presentation in October due to the ongoing investigation. However, he did compete in this year’s Tour, where he won the green jersey, and in the Vuelta a España, even though the police inquiry into the allegations against him was underway.

Meanwhile, the 2005 Milan-San Remo winner earned a very public vote of confidence last week when Italian national team manager Paolo Bettini declared that the route of the 2011 world championships in Copenhagen in tailor-made for Petacchi. After visiting Denmark, Bettini stated that Petacchi was the only Italian rider capable of winning a bunch sprint on such a course.

“It pleased me a lot [to hear Bettini’s comments], also because from talking with other riders who know the area, I had already guessed that the 2011 Worlds might suit my characteristics,” Petacchi said. “I thank Bettini for his faith and I will try in every way not to disappoint him and to arrive at the race in the best of shape.”

Petacchi also revealed that he hopes to ride the three Grand Tours in 2011, although he admitted that he might not make it to the finish of all of them as he looks to taper his form for the world championships.

“I’m talking about it with [Giuseppe] Saronni and the Lampre management,” he explained. “I’ll certainly ride the Vuelta, perhaps without finishing it. And before that, the Tour, which always stimulates me.”

Petacchi was also quick to assuage any fears that he might forgo his home tour. “No, certainly not,” he said. “I’d like to be at the start of all three major tours, but I might not necessarily finish all of them.
 

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