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Petacchi won five stages and the points classification in the Giro
Alessandro Petacchi's Milram team responded to the publication of his 'non-negative' test for the...
Alessandro Petacchi's Milram team responded to the publication of his 'non-negative' test for the asthma drug stating that he, "like several other athletes and millions of people, in some periods of the season, suffers from allergic problems that he controls with a Ventolin inhaler."
The team confirmed in their statement that Petacchi had a therapeutic use exemption from the UCI, which allows him to use the drug. The statement decried the leak of the test results, and expressed their confidence that the matter would be cleared up.
Coming just weeks after the confession of Erik Zabel, who admitted to using EPO in the 1990's, the team expressed its anger at the breach of confidentiality to the press, and stated that such publications "unjustly discredit athletes, teams, sponsors and the entire world of cycling."
Winner of the best climber jersey in the Giro, Leonardo Piepoli is one of those named by the Gazzetta article. Piepoli's team responded to the news stating that he takes the asthma drug for his allergies, and has a written exemption to use it from the UCI. While the rider has an exemption, he is still subject to a cut-off of the maximum level of the drug that can be in his urine. According to the team statement, "The concentration of Salbutamol in his urine will be verified in a laboratory in Barcelona respecting different factors such as the weight of the rider (54 kg) and others."
The rider himself admitted to AFP that he takes the drug for his allergies, and said, "Mauro [Gianetti, team manager -ed.] asked me how much I had taken. But I do not know the number of 'puffs' (inhalations) I made. I take it when I need it. It depends on the seasons."
Piepoli's team-mate David Millar has had his share of doping drama. The 30 year-old spent time under suspension after admitting EPO use, and has since become an antidoping advocate. He gave his team-mates the benefit of the doubt, according to AFP. "They are not-negative. Leo has a certificate for asthma. Iban has a testosterone history. It is necessary to give them the benefit of the doubt," Millar declared. "One cannot never be sure with hundred percent certainty, it is always necessary to have doubts. In my personal opinion, they deserve my trust. If I am misled, it would be a pity. That would break our friendship."