Mantova doping investigation: BMC suspends Ballan and Santambrogio from competition
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Mantova doping investigation: BMC suspends Ballan and Santambrogio from competition

by Shane Stokes at 3:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Riders were both previously part of suspected Lampre team

Alessandro BallanAlthough it declined to suspend Classics contender Alessandro Ballan prior to Paris-Roubaix, the BMC Racing Team has announced this evening that it has decided to take the former world champion out of competition. Team-mate Mauro Santambrogio has also been sidelined due to the ongoing Italian doping investigation.

Both riders were previously part of the Lampre team, which has over a dozen of its current and former riders implicated in the Mantova affair.

According to BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowitz, the situation has changed since the Classics. He said that new information the team had received, ‘along with consideration of the team's anti-doping policy and the UCI's Code of Conduct,’ had led to the decision to sideline the two.

“Both riders have been cooperating fully with the investigation, and, as we did last year, we will respect their presumption of innocence and we expect them to continue their full support to the authorities,” he said. The American added that each rider would have to deal with the issues independent of the team, although it would monitor the ongoing investigation.

Last month, Italian media named thirteen riders currently or formerly contracted to the Lampre team. They are Ballan, Santambrogio, 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 are general manager Giuseppe Saronni plus directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, as well as the soigneur Fabio Della Torre.

Other current/past riders named who are not connected to the squad were also listed. 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. Footballer Matteo Zambroni was also named, as was former team doctor Josè Ibarguren.

Last Thursday the Omega Pharma Lotto team announced that Roberto Damiani was leaving after several years in management there. He is understood to be taking over from Saronni in the running of the team, and will be part of a clearout and general refocusing. This is expected to draw on the talents of young riders such as Adriano Malori and Diego Ulissi.

The team presumably feels that there is a chance that at least some of those implicated may end up serving suspensions.

As for Ballan and Santambrogio, their futures with the BMC Racing Team remain to be determined.


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