Rome - Former Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi, winner of Tour de France
and Giro d'Italia stages galore, has been embroiled in the blood doping
scandal around German doctor Mark Schmidt and the so-called operation
Newspapers in both Italy and France, Corriere della Sera and Le
Monde, both cited on Tuesday sources close to the case as saying
Petacchi was being investigated.
They claim that Petacchi, with the help of Schmidt, benefitted from
blood doping by transfusing his own blood, treated to raise the red
blood cell count that facilitates oxygen delivery in the body, thereby
increasing power and stamina.
Schmidt was arrested during the Nordic ski world championships in
February in a blood doping scandal involving sports stars from many
Petacchi, who won six Tour de France stages and 22 on the Giro, denied the allegations outright.
"I never went to his surgery in Germany or anywhere else. I never had
a blood transfusion and I have no idea why I'm being connected with
this case," the 45-year-old TV pundit told Corriere della Sera after the
fourth stage of the Giro on Tuesday.