BMC Racing team clears Santambrogio for the Giro
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Sunday, May 02, 2010

BMC Racing team clears Santambrogio for the Giro

by Conal Andrews at 12:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
 

Almost a month after suspending former world champion Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio from racing due to their links with an Italian anti-doping investigation, the BMC Racing Team has cleared the latter for a return to competition.

The squad announced today that it concluded its preliminary internal investigation into the rider and is satisfied that he is not involved in banned practices.

“The BMC Racing Team has concluded that there is no indication that Mauro Santambrogio was involved in any doping in connection with his former team, Lampre. The findings of the BMC Racing Team are also in line with the view of the police investigation to date,” said its President Jim Ochowicz.

“Hence, the BMC Racing Team will no longer withhold Mauro Santambrogio from competition. We are pleased that the findings from our own investigation and that of the police have turned up no evidence of wrong-doing by Mauro Santambrogio. The view of the Italian inquiry police comes at good time, as it encourages us to enter Mauro Santambrogio in the Giro d'Italia.”

The two riders were mentioned in media reports in connection with an inquiry into 35 individuals, based around cycling coach Guido Nigrelli and his practices in the town of Mariana Mantovana in Northern Italy.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, current and former riders with the Lampre squad, as well as team officials, are amongst those being scrutinized. It named Ballan, Santambrogio, former world number one Damiano Cunego and Francesco Gavazzi as riders thought to be connected to the case.

BMC’s statement today is notable in that it includes no reference at all to Ballan, who also signed for the team over the winter. However it’s not known if keeping him suspended reflects culpability on his part, or is simply an indication that the investigation into his part in the matter has not yet been concluded.

Either way, his supporters will be concerned that he is still sidelined from competition.

Santambrogio is a good climber and won the Tre Valli Varesine last season. He was also second in the Coppa Agostoni. The 25 year old will provide important support for team leader Cadel Evans in the Giro, particularly as the Australian has said that he is targeting the overall classification in the race.

Evans, who is the current world champion, has shown excellent form this season and recently won the Flèche Wallonne Classic.

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