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Petacchi Suspended; Tour in Jeopardy

Alessandro Petacchi was suspended by Milram today due to his non-negative test result for salbutamol at the Giro d'Italia. Although the infraction is not being viewed as a serious doping case, it nonetheless has the potential to scuttle Petacchi's appearance at the Tour de France.

The suspension is the result of the new Pro Tour code of ethics, which requires a team to stop any rider who is under investigation for a non-negative doping control test. Milram are simply following standard procedure. The non-negative has to be referred to CONI, the agency responsible for resolving cases regarding Italian riders, before Petacchi can be cleared.

Fortunately for Ale-Jet, CONI investigator Ettore Torri (last seen exacting a confession from Ivan Basso) wants to take the case immediately so Petacchi might still ride the Tour. He seems to view the matter as not serious -- CW is that Petacchi is one of the many asthma sufferers and he took too many hits off his inhaler. Torri:

"Petacchi's case is particular. It does not seem like a case to be pushed ahead. The details will be valued with absolute sincerity. I also intend on asking the option of medics to see if the abnormal values of Salbutamol are the same that were declared by the athlete."

So the race against time begins... with a chance he won't be cleared in time, or at all.

Update [2007-6-28 10:37:0 by chris]: DiLuca to be Questioned Too: The VN version says Danilo DiLuca will make an appearance before CONI next week as well, to answer questions about his relationship with Dr. Carlo Santuccione, a suspected drug doc. DiLuca is still under investigation for low hormone levels at the Giro, another case which may not be considered very serious but is ongoing nonetheless.