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Petacchi and Stanga heard by CONI

Alessandro Petacchi leaves the Olympic stadium

Alessandro Petacchi leaves the Olympic stadium (Image credit: AFP)

Alessandro Petacchi underwent two hours of questioning by Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) prosecutors on Monday regarding his non-negative test for the asthma drug salbutamol during this year's Giro d'Italia. CONI prosecutor Ettore Tori said that a decision is expected "very promptly" which will determine whether or not the 33 year-old Milram sprinter travels to London for the Tour de France.

"I sought to explain my position scientifically and my good faith in what happened," said Petacchi, who is authorised to use certain amounts of salbutamol as an asthma sufferer. "The Tour? It depends on the attorney's office, now it's all in their hands," he said.

Milram team manager Gianluigi Stanga was also at the Rome meeting to answer questions relating to the allegations from Jörg Jaksche that he supplied drugs to the German rider while managing Team Polti in 1997.

"I chose to speak with the anti-doping prosecutor about this event which I find myself involved in," said Stanga. "I wanted to confirm that what [Jaksche] had said is absolutely not true, and I believe it can be confirmed by a lot of athletes I had in my squads. I have been working for many years to build myself a reputation and I do not want it destroyed by nonsense."

Stanga was also hopeful that his star rider Petacchi would not be prevented from starting the Tour de France on Saturday. "Alessandro Petacchi should be in London on Thursday morning for the (pre-race) controls but I am certain that the organizers of the Tour de France will be prepared to wait for him even in extremis," Stanga told the Apcom news agency. "However, between the Tour and absolution, I choose absolution."

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