Cycling: Pereiro faces possible doping case

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The Independent Online

The French newspaper Le Monde says that 2006 Tour de France runner-up Oscar Pereiro could face an anti-doping investigation after he "consistently failed" to explain why he has an authorisation to use a banned substance, salbutamol.

Authorisations, known as exemption "certificates", are issued by cycling's governing body, the UCI, to certain riders to use salbutamol - a substance frequently used for treating asthma - in small quantities, if they can justify it for medical reasons.

However, repeated requests by the French authorities that Pereiro provide the medical proof why he needs to take salbutamol, Le Monde said, have "as yet met with no response from the Spaniard or from the UCI." Le Monde reports that if there is still no response from Pereiro by 25 January, the French anti-doping authorities will open up disciplinary procedures against the Spaniard. Another six riders who also took part in the Tour are also being investigated for the same possible offence.

Potential investigations notwithstanding, Pereiro currently stands to win the 2006 Tour de France if American Floyd Landis' positive for another banned substance, testosterone, during the race is finally confirmed. A hearing about Landis' case will take place in France in March.