Ballan and Santambrogio back in action for BMC Racing Team
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ballan and Santambrogio back in action for BMC Racing Team

by Conal Andrews at 5:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Team states no evidence has been given linking riders to Mantova doping investigation

Alessandro BallanThe BMC Racing Team has decided to allow its riders Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio to return to competition, saying that it has received no notification that they are under investigation.

In April Italian media named a range of riders and other individuals who it said were implicated in the Mantova doping investigation. These included thirteen riders currently or formerly contracted to the Lampre team, including Ballan and Santambrogio, as well as Marco Bandiera, Emanuele Bindi, Marzio Bruseghin, Damiano Cunego, Mauro Da Dalto, Francesco Gavazzi, Mirko Lorenzetto, Manuele Mori, Simone Ponzi, Francesco Tomei and Daniele Pietropolli.

On May 2nd, the BMC Racing Team stated that it was suspending the two riders. It quoted team president Jim Ochowitz as saying that the situation had 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.

Despite that talk of receiving new information, the team now states that it considers there are insufficient grounds to continue to keep the two riders out of competition.

“To date, the BMC Racing Team has never been notified by any authorities regarding these alleged actions and conversations," Ochowicz said. "We support all anti-doping policies and initiatives and, within the team, we are confident that since the two joined the BMC Racing Team in 2010 no doping issues have arisen."

The team added that neither the UCI, WADA, CONI, or any other such authority had been in contact in relation to ‘any suspicious doping issues regarding either rider.’

It said that both riders were continuing to cooperate with the authorities looking into the situation. It concluded by saying that it could change its stance if further details emerged. “Should any appropriate authority contact us with any documented information, the BMC Racing Team will take all appropriate actions that are required.”

It has not said when the riders will return to racing. Both could in theory be selected for the Tour de France team.


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