Milram's Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi may have gotten back to his winning ways in the minor German stage race, the Regio Tour, but he still faces the possibility of losing the biggest battle of his career – the case of his 'non-negative' doping test from the Giro d'Italia. Petacchi was cleared by the Italian Cycling Federation of a doping violation and allowed to begin racing again in July, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
CONI reiterated its wish to see the rider sanctioned for what it views as a doping offence. "CONI's antidoping prosecutors have lodged an appeal to the CAS in Lausanne against the decision of the Italian cycling federation to close the case concerning Alessandro Petacchi," read a CONI statement, according to AFP.
Petacchi, an asthmatic, has a medical use exemption to take the drug in competition, but was found to have 1320 ng/ml of the the asthma drug Salbutamol (Ventolin) in his urine – more than the 1000 ng/ml acceptable limit – in a Giro doping control after his win on stage 11. The drug is said to have anabolic effect in high doses.
Petacchi's case was one of three non-negatives along with Saunier Duval rider Leonardo Piepoli (also for Ventolin) and Iban Mayo (for a too-high testosterone ratio) from the Giro d'Italia, and the UCI has been hoping to cut down on the number of medical exemptions given to riders for this very reason.
Petacchi was heard by CONI at the end of June, and CONI's antidoping prosecutor Ettore Torri recommended a one year ban for the Italian, but the federation rejected this and allowed Petacchi to return to racing.
CONI appealed the rejection of the recommendation, but they went to the wrong place – the Italian federation stated that they cannot hear appeals, and suggested that CONI take the case to CAS, which they have now done.