January 26, 2009

Cyclist Piepoli banned for 2 years

Italian authorities said cyclist Leonardo Piepoli has been banned from the sport for two years after using drugs during last year's Tour de France.

The country's anti-doping tribunal said blood samples taken July 4 and 15 established that Piepoli, 37, had been using Mircera, a banned drug that boosts production of red blood cells, during the July 5-27 race, ANSA reported Monday.

Piepoli was fired by his cycling team, Saunier Duval, on July 18, and his former team leader, Riccardo Ricco, 25, received a two-year ban after he was ejected from the Tour de France July 17 for using Mircera.

Ricco could face criminal charges in France, ANSA reported.