CAS upholds ban on Petacchi, strips his Giro stage wins

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi was found guilty on Tuesday of a doping offense by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The CAS stripped Petacchi of his five stage wins in the 2007 Giro d'Italia and ruled the 34-year-old sprinter must serve a ban until the end of August.

The ruling relates to allegations Petacchi excessively used an asthma drug during the race.

"All competitive results obtained by Alessandro Petacchi during the 2007 Giro d'Italia shall be disqualified with all of the resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes," CAS said in a statement.

All of Petacchi's results since Oct. 31 will also be forfeited.

The panel of three CAS lawyers said Petacchi did not intend to overdose on salbutamol, which cycling's governing body had authorized him to use as part of his regular medication, Ventolin. However, increased doses can enhance an athlete's performance.

"Considering that the athlete bears no significant fault or negligence, the CAS panel has fixed the period of his ineligibility to one year," the statement said.

The case was brought to CAS last August by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), and was supported by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

CONI appealed a decision by the Italian cycling federation to clear Petacchi, and asked for the rider to be banned for two years.