Former sprinting star and long-time stalwart of the professional peloton Alessandro Petacchi has been banned for two years and had his results struck for two seasons of racing.
25 Aug 2019 - 10:54 AM 

Petacchi and fellow athletes Kristijan Koren, Kristijan Durasek, and Borut Bozic were notified of potential anti-doping rules violations in May 2019 after their names were uncovered as part of the Austrian bust, Operation Aderlass.

Danilo Hondo was also banned for two years for his involvement with the doping operation, with Austrians Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler being given a four-year ban each.

Petacchi initially denied the accusations surrounding his racing during the 2012 and 2013 seasons when they surfaced just prior to the 2019 Giro d'Italia, but opted not to fight the charges. He released a statement via representatives on Instagram addressing the ban.

"The UCI involved Alessandro Petacchi in an anti-doping case based on information received from the Austrian judicial authorities.

Petacchi immediately declared himself a stranger to the accusations reported by the press. In order to avoid huge legal costs and to reduce the time required for a demanding procedure, even on a personal level, especially considering the particular state of health of his wife Anna Chiara, and unfortunately also of his father Lucio he preferred to close the case, through an " acceptance of consequences”.

It's a turnaround from earlier positions Petacchi held, with the Italian sprinter previously denying any links to the doping-linked Dr. Schmidt.

“I’m alleged to have met this doctor years ago but as I’ve already said, I’ve never met him or spoken to him,” said Petacchi.

“I received notification via email from the UCI about the investigation into Dr. Schmidt and my alleged contact with him after already reading about it in the newspapers."

Petacchi, now 45, took 149 victories over his 18-year-career before retiring in 2015. The Italian served a nine-month ban in 2007 after returning a positive test for salbutamol.