Mantova Case: BMC Racing Team to support Ballan and Santambrogio
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mantova Case: BMC Racing Team to support Ballan and Santambrogio

by Shane Stokes at 12:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Ochowicz: ‘No action…unless official request to do so’

Alessandro BallanAlthough the names of two of its riders cropped up again yesterday in relation to the Mantova doping investigation, the BMC Racing Team has said that it will not prevent either from competing unless there are firm indications that the riders should be suspended.

“The BMC Racing Team has not been notified or contacted officially regarding this investigation,” said the team’s president and general manager Jim Ochowicz in a statement. “We will take no action regarding Alessandro Ballan or Mauro Santambrogio unless we receive an official request to do so from an appropriate authority (i.e., WADA, UCI, CONI or the Italian Cycling Federation).

“Throughout its entirety, both riders have fully cooperated with investigators. For both riders the presumption of innocence is to be respected also by the team.”

Both and La Gazzetta dello Sport reported yesterday that the Mantova public prosecutor has requested the indictment of 32 individuals in connection with the investigation, which is linked to the pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and deals mainly with the Lampre team between 2008 and 2009.

Those implicated include Ballan and Santambrogio, who raced with Lampre ISD prior to moving to the BMC Racing Team.

Last year Italian media named them plus eleven other riders also connected to the team, namely Marco Bandiera, Emanuele Bindi, Marzio Bruseghin, Damiano Cunego, Mauro Da Dalto, Francesco Gavazzi, Mirko Lorenzetto, Manuele Mori, Simone Ponzi, Francesco Tomei and Daniele Pietropolli.

Also implicated were Lampre’s general manager Giuseppe Saronni plus directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, as well as the soigneur Fabio Della Torre and was former team doctor Josè Ibarguren.

A number of other current/past riders named who are not connected to the squad were also listed at that point. These are Francesco Bonazzi, Geo Bonazzi, Paolo Bossoni, Nicola Castrini, Pietro Caucchioli, Sergio Gelati, Roberto Messina, Massimiliano Mori, Paolo Pezzi, Mariano Piccoli and Michael Rasmussen, as well as the mountain bike rider Sebastian Gilmozzi. One footballer, Matteo Zambroni, was also named.

Ballan and Cunego were summoned to appear before Italian Olympic committee CONI last August.

The next step in the process will be the assessment of a preliminary hearing judge, who will weigh up the evidence and decide within the next three months which individuals should be prosecuted and which should be acquitted.

Until then, Ballan and Santambrogio appear to be free to continue competing. Each has been sidelined twice in the past by the BMC Racing Team in connection with the case, but allowed begin racing again as the case dragged on.

This time round, their spring programme won’t be disrupted.


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