Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) has been cleared of doping by the Italian Cycling Federation.

Following a three hour hearing in Rome on Tuesday morning, the panel of disciplinary judges accepted Petacchi?s detailed explanation of why a level of 1300ng/ml of Salbutamol were found in his urine sample given after the stage 11 of the Giro to Pinerolo.

Under UCI rules a rider can use a Ventolin, Salbutamol-based inhaler to treat asthma if they have an official TUE (Theraputic Use Exemption) but only up to the limit of 1000ng/ml. Petacchi had a certificate and claimed he would not be stupid enough to ruin his career for a few extra puffs on an inhaler.

The anti-doping investigators of the Italian Olympic Committee has recommended Petacchi be suspended for a year for going over the limit but the Cycling Federation did not agree and cleared of him of any wrong doing. Petacchi can now race again but the UCI could decide to study the case and appeal against the decision to the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

?It?s my best ever win. My career was on the line and my life had been ruined by this positive,? Petacchi said after hearing the verdict.

?My case could have destroyed the Milram team and it?s been a horrible experience and there was a lot of confusion and superficiality. I?ve done over 150 tests and I?ve never had any problems in the past. I?ve always continued to ride my bike but now I can start to think about my future as an athlete again.?

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