Alessandro Petacchi has been handed a two-year ban by the UCI for anti-doping rule violation committed between 2012 and 2013.
The ban relates to information received by the UCI from the enforcement authorities that have been spearheading the Austrian doping investigation known as Operation Aderlass. Relating to information passed on to the UCI, Petacchi was handed the two-year period of ineligibility due to ‘use of prohibited methods/substances’.
Petacchi and fellow athletes Kristijan Koren, Kristijan Durasek, and Borut Bozic were are notified of potential Anti-Doping Rules Violations in May of this year after their names were uncovered as part of the Aderlass case. Previously, Danilo Hondo was banned for two years for his participation in the scheme, with Austrians Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler being given a four-year ban each.
Petacchi denied the links at the time, stating: : “I’ve never had a blood transfusion. I’ve no idea why my name appears in this dossier.”
However, Petacchi, who rode the UCI-registered Cape Epic mountain bike event earlier this year, was suspended by the UCI for his involvement almost immediately. He was given seven days to provide his initial defense and stepped away from the Giro d’Italia, where he was working at the time as a technical commentator for Italian state broadcaster RAI.
“I’m alleged to have met this doctor years ago but as I’ve already said, I’ve never met him or spoken to him,” Petacchi said on Italian television at the time.
“I received notification via email from the UCI about the investigation into Dr. Schmidt and my alleged contact with him after already reading about it in the newspapers. Now I’m trying to get the documents that incriminate me via my lawyer and I’m going to go home because I need to speak to my lawyer, understand things and prepare my defence.
“I’ve got to send it in the next seven days. I hope to clear things up as soon as possible and be back at the Giro d’Italia as soon as possible.”
Petacchi, now 45, won 22 stages at the Giro d’Italia before retiring in 2015. The Italian served a nine-month ban in 2007 after returning a positive test for salbutamol.