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Cycling world champion fails doping test

Latest update : 2008-07-28

Italian Marta Bastianelli, world road cyclist champion, tested positive for flenfluramine, a compound found in many dieting products. The Italian Olympic Committee said it is now "very unlikely" that she will represent her country in Beijing.

World road race champion Marta Bastianelli has failed a dope test, the Italian cycling federation said on Monday.

Bastianelli was due to take part at the Beijing Olympics but a spokesman for the Italian Olympic Committee said her participation was now unlikely. The Games start on Aug. 8.

A spokeswoman for the federation confirmed the positive test while federation president Renato Di Rocco told Corriere della Sera's website (www.corriere.it) that the issues were very complicated.

"She has been incredibly naive. She has tested positive for flenfluramine, which is a component in diet products. She only eats salad," he said.

"Now we will ask immediately for the counteranalysis. But the problem is not just the Olympics. The problem is her image and that of cycling."

Di Rocco could not be reached when contacted by Reuters.

Bastianelli, who won the women's road race at last year's world championships in Stuttgart, tested positive on July 5 at the European under-23 championship in Verbania, Italy.

Cycling has been rocked by several doping scandals in recent years with Italian riders involved in some of the most high profile cases.

Riccardo Ricco tested positive for banned blood-booster EPO during this month's Tour de France and will go before an Italian anti-doping prosecutor in Rome this week.

The 2006 Giro D'Italia winner Ivan Basso returns from a two-year ban in October after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal. He said he had attempted to dope but denied actually going through with it.

Last year's Giro champion Danilo Di Luca was cleared of doping after a test showed abnormal hormone levels but was given a three-month ban for frequenting a doctor banned for supplying doping products.

Fellow Italian Alessandro Petacchi is serving a suspension for the overuse of an asthma inhaler.

Date created : 2008-07-28

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