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Tour de France News Flash for July 16, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Padrnos and Zanini stay

By Tim Maloney, European editor in Castelsarrasin

US Postal Service-Berry Floor team media manager Jogi Muller informed Cyclingnews this morning that Pavel Padrnos will not be excluded from the 2004 Tour de France, despite ongoing speculation that he would be. His case has been reviewed by the Tour organisers and the UCI, and although the Tour de France felt that he should leave, the UCI didn't agree, and both parties had to agree in order to exclude him.

Padrnos' attorney has a letter from the Italian investigators that has absolved him of any wrongdoing in terms of possession of illegal substances after the blitz of San Remo in the 2001 Giro d'Italia. Trace elements of mannitol were found in his L-carnitine amino acid supplements, but mannitol is no longer on the banned list, according to Muller. Although the investigation is still open, the Italian police have closed their file on Padrnos. An October 27 hearing in front of the judge in San Remo is reportedly merely a procedural matter which will take the case off the books.

For similar reasons (disagreement between the UCI and the Tour organisers), Quick.Step-Davitamon rider Stefano Zanini was also allowed to remain in the Tour, despite the fact that he is "under investigation". Zanini will also appear at the hearing in San Remo on October 27.

The Tour de France organisers (ASO) are appealing the case to the Professional Cycling Council, and there will be a meeting this afternoon via telephone to discuss it. The ASO is upset that Padrnos and Zanini are being allowed in the race despite its objections.

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