ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- Alessandro Petacchi has been absolved of any blame after a dope test during May's Giro d'Italia showed excessive levels of salbutamol, the Italian Cycling Federation said on Tuesday.
Petacchi is all smiles after being cleared by the Italian cycling federation.
The 33-year-old sprinter was forced to miss the Tour de France after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the country's anti-doping body, asked the federation to impose a one-year ban earlier this month.
However, the federation has turned down the request after Petacchi attended a hearing in Rome.
The Milram rider, who won five stages of this year's Giro, has a medical certificate to use a set amount of salbutamol for his asthma and said he should be spared a ban because any overuse was human error.
"After a 12-year career, 140 races won, I can only say that I had no reason to ruin my career with a Ventolin (inhaler). At the last Giro d'Italia I did nothing different from all the other times," Petacchi told reporters on leaving the hearing.
Cycling has been dogged by numerous doping scandals and CONI has been relentless in its bid to clean up the sport by probing Italian riders and the Giro, widely regarded as the second most important race after the Tour.
The 2006 Giro champion Ivan Basso is serving a two-year ban for attempted doping.
Danilo Di Luca, who won this year's race, is waiting to hear if he faces a suspension for his links to a doctor alleged to have supplied doping products to athletes. Di Luca denies any wrongdoing.
However, the cycling fraternity was surprised by CONI's hard line with Petacchi and the federation's decision not to ratify their E-mail to a friend
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