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Petacchi set to return, UCI to investigate

Team Milram's star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi is free to return to racing with immediate effect, after being cleared of suspicion of doping by the Italian Cycling Federation's disciplinary commission. The 32 year-old was cleared despite the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) calling for Petacchi to be handed a 12 month ban.

"It's one of the most beautiful wins in my life," Petacchi said. "I don't wish anybody to suffer like I did, it was the worst experience of my life."

However the sport's governing body is preparing to request documents regarding Petacchi's case, and could launch an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport 'within days'. Petacchi recorded a 'non negative' during May's Giro d'Italia, prompting an inquiry by CONI's Ettore Torri.

"The UCI will ask for the file and we will then study it once we receive it," said UCI chief Pat McQuaid."We don't know all the details of the Italian federation's decision, but we will be making a request for the file in the next 24 hours."

"It is a possibilty that we appeal," he added.

While Team Milram hasn't yet announced a date or event in which Petacchi will return to racing, the team is glad to have its star sprinter back in action.

"I am very relieved about this result," Team Milram commercial manager Gerry van Gerwen said. "What remains is a damage to his image and to that of the team. Furthermore, we missed the chance for possible successes at the Tour de France. But I am glad that this nightmare is over for him."

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