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Alessandro Petacchi to miss Tour de France

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced on Tuesday Italy sprinter Alessandro Petacchi's one-year ban over drug test failure during the Tour of Italy in 2007. Petacchi will miss July's Tour de France and August's Beijing Olympics.

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MILAN - Italy's Alessandro Petacchi will miss this year's Tour de France after the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for Sport banned him until Aug. 31 for testing positive for excess salbutamol in the Giro d'Italia last year.

In a statement, CAS said it had imposed a one-year ban but had backdated the start to November 2007 and had also taken into account two months in which he did not race following the test.

Top sprinter Petacchi, who had a medical certificate to use a set amount of salbutamol in his asthma inhaler, will skip this month's Giro in any case because of bronchitis but will miss July's Tour de France and August's Beijing Olympics.

The Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor charged Petacchi with doping in July but the 34-year-old argued that any overuse of salbutamol during the Giro had been human error.

The Italian Cycling Federation backed Petacchi's stance and refused the prosecutor's request for a one-year ban, meaning the case went to CAS.

"The arbitrators were satisfied that the adverse analytical finding in this case was the result of A. Petacchi taking too much salbutamol on the day of the test but that the overdose was not taken with the intention of enhancing performance," the CAS statement said.

CONI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) asked for a two year-ban when appealing to CAS.

Italy has been especially hit by doping scandals in cycling.

Fellow Italian Danilo Di Luca, who won last year's Giro, was cleared of doping during the race by a special commission last month.

But last week CAS upheld a three-month ban, which Di Luca had already served, imposed by CONI after he frequented a doctor accused of supplying doping products.

The 2006 Giro winner Ivan Basso was banned for his role in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal in Spain and returns to action in October.

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