Italian former World Champion Alessandro Ballan has been suspended from competition by the BMC Racing Team after he was named in the Italian ‘Mantova’ anti-doping investigation.
Ballan and BMC team-mate Mauro Santambrogio were both members of the Italian Lampre team during the period of investigation, and both have been suspended pending further questioning.
It means that Ballan will not ride in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, where he would have been one of BMC’s team leaders.
In a statement issued by BMC team boss Jim Ochowicz, the squad oulined its reasons for suspending the two riders.
“It has come to our attention that two of our riders, Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio, are the subject of an investigation by Italian authorities stemming from incidents that took place more than two years ago – when they were members of the Lampre team and not affiliated with the BMC Racing Team.”
“The BMC Racing Team and its members were not aware of this investigation until a few days ago and we hope to obtain more information about the proceedings. However, we have already made the decision to withhold the two from competition, in accordance with the BMC Racing Team’s own policy and the UCI’s Code of Conduct (Section IX, Item 2). This should not be seen as pre-determination of guilt in connection with the Italian investigation. Both will have to personally address the accusations.”
Ballan won the road World Championships in 2008, the year after winning the Tour of Flanders and Three Days of De Panne. Last year he won the Tour of Poland overall. He also won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2008.
Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport revealed this week that up to 54 people may be under investigation by Italian authorities in relation to the dealings of Guido Nigrelli, a pharmacist based in Mantova, during 2008 and 2009.
Alessandro Ballan: Rider Profile