Paris - Retired
Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi, winner of six Tour de France and
22 Giro d'Italia stages, has been suspended for two years for blood
doping, the sport's governing body the UCI said on Saturday.
The UCI has sanctioned the sprinter "for a period of two years of
ineligibility for anti-doping rule violations committed in 2012 and
2013," said a press release.
The case is based "on information received from the Austrian police authorities", the UCI said.
In June, Austrian cyclists Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler were
banned for four years for doping by the Austrian anti-doping agency.
Petacchi's punishment takes effect from May 14, the date of the
opening of an investigation by the UCI against him, Slovenian Borut
Bozic (retired) and Slovenia's Kristijan Koren and Croatian Kristijan
Durasek, both still riding.
The UCI said Petacchi had accepted "the consequences" and would be
stripped of three stage victories in the 2012 Tour of Bavaria. He is
ineligible to participate in any event under UCI auspices for two years.
At the end of February, Austrian and German police dismantled a large
international blood doping network based in Erfurt, Germany, and
centred on German doctor Mark Schmidt on the eve of the 2019 Nordic Ski
World Championships in Seefeld, Austria.
Initially focused on cross-country skiing, the investigation, named
'Aderlass' from the German word for bleeding, quickly spread to half a
dozen sports, including cycling.
Italian and French media reported that Petacchi went to Schmidt for
blood doping, transfusing his own blood which was then treated to raise
the red blood cell count to increase power and stamina.