Lausanne: Italian cyclist Gianni Da Ros has had a 20-year doping ban cut to four years on appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Tuesday.
CAS, sport`s highest tribunal, said the ban would be backdated to start in March last year, meaning that the 23-year-old has just over two-and-a-half years still to serve.
Da Ros had only just turned professional when he was one of 11 people arrested by police in March last year after a long-running investigation into doping across Italian sport.
In November, he was suspended by Italy`s anti-doping tribunal CONI for 20 years after being found guilty under several anti-doping articles.
These included use or attempted use of a banned substance or method, possession of prohibited substances, trafficking or attempted trafficking in prohibited substances and the administration to an athlete of a prohibited substance or method.
CAS said it had found Da Ros guilty of all but the final offence, article 2.8, and considered the overall punishment excessive.
"The CAS Panel has confirmed the existence of the infractions committed by the athlete, which had already been stated by CONI, with the exception of the violation of article 2.8 of the world anti-doping code, considering that the elements constituting such infraction had not been sufficiently established," said CAS in a statement.
"Furthermore, the CAS Panel considered that a 20-year ban was not justified and has reduced it to a period of four years which corresponds to the standard suspension provided by Article 10.3.2 of the world anti-doping code."