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  Monday, 17 June, 2002, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Pantani's doping ban lifted
Marco Pantani
Pantani's recent career has been dogged by controversy
Italian cyclist Marco Pantani has had his eight-month ban for using the prohibited substance insulin cancelled.

A disciplinary commission of the Italian Cycling Federation had imposed the punishment on 1 July, but its appeals commission lifted the suspension on Saturday.

The 32-year-old leader of the Mercatone Uno team was cleared by the president of the commission, Luigi Renga.

The federation said it would explain the reason behind the decision next week, but independent websites reported Renga saying there was no evidennce against Pantani.

"There was no certain evidence against Pantani, only assumptions," Renga was quoted as saying.

The decision means that Pantani, winner of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France winner in 1998, will be able to start in upcoming international races.

The appeals commission also lifted a six-month suspension of Stefano Zanini and upheld a nine-month suspension, starting from last May, for GiamPaolo Mondini.

Pantani was investigated after an insulin-filled syringe was found in his hotel room. Pantani maintained that the insulin was not his.

Nicknamed the Pirate, Pantani has been plagued by anti-doping investigations. In 1999 he failed a random blood test and was kicked out of the Giro d'Italia.

He quit this year's Giro and was not invited to compete in the Tour de France.

See also:

02 May 02 | Cycling
03 Jul 02 | Cycling
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