Italian prosecutors demand two-year doping ban for Ballan

The Italian is accused of violating the WADA code for using or attempting to use a banned substance

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MILAN (AFP) — Prosecutors for the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Thursday demanded a two-year ban for former world road race champion Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing).

Ballan, who was crowned world champion in 2008, is accused of breaching the World Anti-Doping Agency code relating to the use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.

Ballan had previously been suspended by BMC due to allegations of doping but after being cleared by the American team the Italian, a former winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), resumed racing in May 2010.

CONI prosecutors requested the ban on the basis of evidence supplied by the Mantua public prosecutor.

Two doctors, Guido Nigrelli and Fiorenzo Aegean Bonazzi, are also implicated in this latest affair and are facing heavy sanctions.

Ballan’s BMC team said later Thursday that it had not suspended the Italian and would monitor the case.

“The BMC Racing Team is aware of, and will continue to monitor, CONI’s legal proceedings involving Alessandro Ballan,” the team said in a statement. “Prior to a decision by the relevant authorities, the team will rely upon internal policies to determine the status of Ballan. At this time, no decision to remove him from active status has been made. As has been previously stated, the charges stem from a time period prior to Ballan’s involvement with the BMC Racing Team. Out of respect for the athlete and for due process, the BMC Racing Team will not make specific comments about the case in the absence of new facts or significant announcements by the court. The BMC Racing Team is committed to a strict anti-doping philosophy and clean sport.”

BMC Racing is one of seven teams in the UCI’s top division, of 19 total, that are not members of the Movement for Credible Cycling, a group that sets standards above the World Anti-Doping Code for its member teams. Other teams that have not joined the MPCC are Cannondale, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, RadioShack-Leopard, Sky, and Saxo-Tinkoff.

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