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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Petacchi cleared of doping charge
Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi won five stages during this year's Giro d'Italia
Alessandro Petacchi has been cleared of any blame in regard to his failed doping test at the Giro d'Italia.

The Italian sprint specialist tested "non-negative" for the asthma drug salbutamol after winning the 11th stage of the event on 23 May.

But the Italian cycling federation said the drug use was only for "therapeutic" needs and "did not constitute a violation of the existing rules."

"It's one of the most beautiful victories of my life," said Pettachi.

"I wouldn't wish for anyone to suffer in the way I have because it was the worst experience of my life."

Petacchi received the news after being called to attend a hearing in Rome on 24 July.

606: DEBATE

The 33-year-old, an asthma sufferer, was suspended by the Milram team and forced to miss this year's Tour de France because of the charges.

He has a medical certificate to use a set amount of salbutamol for his asthma and said he should be spared a ban because any overuse was human error.

"After a 12-year career, 140 races won, I can only say that I had no reason to ruin my career with an inhaler," he said. "At the last Giro d'Italia I did nothing different from all the other times."

The Italian Olympic Committee had asked the federation to impose a one-year suspension.

A "non-negative" result means a substance is found which may be legal if the rider has a medical certificate.



SEE ALSO
Rasmussen admits drug-test error
24 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Petacchi to miss Tour de France
05 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Petacchi wins third Giro sprint
23 May 07 |  Cycling


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