Scarponi ban shortened after CAS ruling

After a ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Michele Scarponi's suspension was reduced and the Italian rider will now be eligible to race again as of August 1, 2008, instead of the original date of November 15. The CAS actually lengthened his ban from 18 to 21 months, but took into consideration two "periods of inactivity" by the rider, thus moving up the date of his potential return.

The former Acqua & Sapone rider had confessed to his involvement with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes last spring, but denied having actually doped. The Italian Cycling Federation announced in July that he was suspended for 18 months, from May 15, 2007, to November 15, 2008. Scarponi did not receive the standard two-year ban because he cooperated with investigators.

Both the UCI (International Cycling Union) and Scarponi appealed the decision. The UCI asked that a two-year ban be imposed, while the rider asked that the court take into consideration the periods during which he did not race. The case was heard on February 7 in Lausanne.

The court granted both appeals, to a limited extent. It extended the ban from 18 to 21 months, noting that Scarponi provided only "limited assistance" to investigators and that "his revelations, of a reduced efficacy, have occurred relatively late." However, it also noted that Scarponi had not ridden between June 30 and December 31, 2006, and from May 15 to July 13, 2007, "during which M. Scarponi decided to suspend himself voluntarily."

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