CAS affirms 2-year ban of Bastianelli

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Italian cyclist Marta Bastianelli received a two-year ban for a doping violation that occurred before the Beijing Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday ruled in favor of an appeal by the International Cycling Union to double the former world road race champion's one-year suspension.

CAS rejected the 22-year-old Bastianelli's attempt to overturn the ban entirely. Her ban runs through July 4, 2010. Bastianelli was a strong medal contender for Beijing but was dropped from the Italian team days before the Games last August.

She tested positive for the banned stimulant flenfluramine twice in July last year: at the under-23 European championships in Verbania, Italy, and after the eighth stage of the women's Giro d'Italia.

Bastianelli denied doping and blamed a pharmacy for preparing contaminated diet pills.

An anti-doping tribunal set up by the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) banned her for one year instead of the standard two after finding she was not at fault.

However, the CAS panel of three lawyers said Bastianelli took the pills without a medical need and ignored a doctor's advice.

Flenfluramine was withdrawn from the United States market in 1997 after reports came out that it caused heart valve disease and hypertension.