Officials: Piepoli tested positive for form of EPO twice during Tour de France

10/6/2008 - Olympic Sports

ROME -- Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli twice tested positive for a version of EPO during this year's Tour de France, Italian and French officials said Monday.

The Italian Olympic Committee said Piepoli has been summoned for a hearing Friday. If found guilty of doping, he would face a two-year ban.

Piepoli's former Saunier Duval teammate, Riccardo Ricco, was banned for two years by CONI last week after admitting to doping during the Tour.

Piepoli was fired by Saunier Duval in July for violating the team's ethical code, but Monday marked the first time officials confirmed he had tested positive.

The Italian committee and French anti-doping agency said Piepoli failed tests on July 4 and July 15 for CERA, an advanced version of the blood booster EPO. Ricco also tested positive for CERA.

Pierre Bordry, head of the French anti-doping agency, confirmed that he had notified the Italian committee of Piepoli's positive tests.

He said the French agency retested blood samples of several "suspect cyclists" for CERA at the Chatenay-Malabry lab outside Paris.