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Appeal process weighs on Petacchi

The Italian Olympic Committee’s appeal of a decision to exonerate Alessandro Petacchi of a doping charge is weighing on the sprint king’s mind. Petacchi continues to ride while the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) considers the case, and won two stages at the Tour of Turkey recently. But he says the doping case is getting to him. Petacchi returned a “non-negative” test for elevated levels of salbutamol last season. It's a drug used by asthma sufferers and Petacchi has clearance to take it.

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By Agence France Presse

The Italian Olympic Committee’s appeal of a decision to exonerate Alessandro Petacchi of a doping charge is weighing on the sprint king’s mind.

Petacchi continues to ride while the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) considers the case, and won two stages at the Tour of Turkey recently.

But he says the doping case is getting to him.

Petacchi returned a “non-negative” test for elevated levels of salbutamol last season. It’s a drug used by asthma sufferers and Petacchi has clearance to take it.

The Italian cycling federation cleared Petacchi of wrongdoing, saying the result was due to human error, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) took the case to CAS, asking that he be banned for two years.

“I’m trying to think only about the Giro d’Italia but the wait for the decision of the court is on my mind,” he said. “Anything could happen, I could even lose the desire to compete in the Giro or in the Tour de France, which I haven’t been to since 2004.

“I’m trying not to imagine that everything will turn out well because the disappointment would be huge if I got an unfavorable decision.”

Petacchi is one of the greatest sprinters of all time. His more than 150 wins include 24 Giro stages, nine of which came in 2004.