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Wednesday 29, Jan 2014

  Italian Cyclist Receives Doping Suspension

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Italian Cyclist Receives Doping Suspension

The 2008 world road race champion, Italy’s @Alessandro Ballan, has received a doping ban of two years from Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI). The Italian’s BMC Racing team announced soon after the verdict that it had terminated its contract of Ballan.

The 2008 world road champion was banned for two years by the Italian Olympic Committee for using ozone treatment in 2009. Ballan claimed he used the ozone treatment for cytomegalovirus when he was ill and it was not to improve his cycling performance. Ballan’s name figured in the Mantova-based doping investigation that was centered on his former Lampre team. According to phone taps from investigators, the cyclist had undergone a blood transfusion in the spring of 2009, which was his final season at the Lampre team before he joined BMC.

In a release, team president Jim Ochowicz said Ballan received a two-year suspension from CONI Friday for charges in connection with his former team. He added that Ballan is no longer a member of the BMC Racing Team in accordance with the BMC Racing Team’s strict anti-doping policy. A BMC statement revealed that it is terminating the contract of Alessandro Ballan who received a two-year suspension from CONI for charges in connection with his former team.

CONI’s anti-doping tribunal ruled that Ballan had contravened article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code relating to the use or attempted use of banned substances. According to a statement by CONI, Ballan received a suspension of two years with effect from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2016 and has also been condemned to pay the costs of this proceeding, estimated at 400 euros and was also asked to pay a fine of 2,000 euros.

The Italian cyclist was suspected to being involved in a doping affair that also implicated two doctors, Guido Nigrelli and Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi, who have aided Ballan’s attempt to procure and use banned substances. CONI banned Nigrelli for life and Bonazzi for four years. According to the CONI statement, Nigrelli was punished under article 2.7 and 2.8 of the World Ant-Doping code and has ordered him to be banned from practicing for life from January 17, 2014 while Bonazzi has been sanctioned for a period of four years, from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2018.

Previously, Ballan was suspended by BMC Racing because of doping allegations but the cyclist resumed racing after being cleared by the Swiss-American team. Ballan won the Tour of Flanders in 2007 and the road race at the 2008 worlds in Varese.

Meanwhile, Australian cycling star Cadel Evans has defended former BMC teammate Ballan. Evans said he does not know all the details and so on but the only thing that appears to him is it must really be the only profession in the world that for looking after your health and trying to be healthy, you can ruin your career and ruin your whole life. The Australian cycling star said Ballan was trying to treat his health as far as he can understand.

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Saturday 10, Aug 2013

  Cunego Among 28 Charged With Doping

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Cunego Among 28 Charged With Doping

Former Tour of Italy winner @Damiano Cunego was among 28 people connected to the Lampre team who were charged with doping-related offenses.

The biggest wins of the Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Merida included the 2004 Giro d’Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. Considered the best Italian cyclist for classics after the retirement of Paolo Bettini, Cunego finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour.

       In his first season as a professional with Saeco in 2002, Cunego won the Giro d’Oro and the Giro Medio Brenta and won the seventh stage and the overall classification of Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2003. During 2004, Cunego finished the season number one in the UCI Road World Cup, the youngest rider to achieve it, at the age of 23. He won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race in 2008 with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck that propelled him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings and finish second in the 2008 UCI Road World Championships. Cunego ended the 2008 season with the victory of the Japan Cup, confirming himself as one of the best Classics Specialist in the world.

In addition to Cunego, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and a host of riders, officials, and doctors have been called in by the Padua prosecutor’s office to explain themselves. The disgraced former Tour winner Michael Rasmussen is also listed along with the likes of Marzio Bruseghin and Mauro Santambrogio. Summons have been issued to Cunego and Bassan, sporting directors Giuseppe Saronni and Guido Bontempi, and team chemist Vittorio Nigrelli, suspected of being the “brains” behind the doping operation.

Prosecutor Antonino Condorelli remarked that the 28 in collaboration with each other are accused of having bought, administered or otherwise favored the use of doping products with the aim of altering the sporting performances of Lampre athletes. The story first broke two years ago, following a three-year investigation by Condorelli.

The team is accused of having given their riders the banned blood-booster EPO, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and testosterone. The case will be heard on December 10 by Judge Gilberto Casari.

A Lampare statement reads: The charges are technically neutral in relation to any affirmation of responsibility and we will be able to demonstrate, in the appropriate domain, how wrong these accusations are. From 2008 to 2011, the team was subject to a doping investigation following revelations made by former cyclist Emanuele Sella after he had tested positive for EPO derivative CERA, although nothing came of the investigation. In a statement, Lampre-Merida said: The team reaffirms trust in the athletes and the team members involved in this case, and is confident that during the hearing it will be possible to demonstrate their non-involvement in the subject of the charges. It added that the certainty of being able to demonstrate the non-involvement brings about the question of who, once that issue has been clarified, will take responsibility for the burdens and offence placed upon the team.

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Monday 22, Apr 2013

  CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

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CONI Given Access To Mantua Files

Just a few days before the 2013 Giro d’Italia begins in Naples, the Italian national Olympic committee (CONI), is to be given access to evidence gathered by prosecutors as part of the Mantua investigation into doping in cycling. The doping scandal involves big names like Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego and the date for that hearing was fixed by preliminary hearing judge Gilberto Casari, who also permitted CONI to be joined to the case as a civil party.

The investigation is focused on a pharmacist based in Mariana Mantovana, Guido Nigrelli, and his relationship with the Lampre team, with a number of past and present riders and staff among those implicated. The judge’s authorization came after the session was suspended for 40 minutes while the judge considered lawyers’ requests. This incident is different from another probe that is being conducted from Padua and focuses on banned doctor Michele Ferrari and his alleged relationship with riders from a variety of teams.

Former world champion Ballan, who is currently recovering from a bad crash while training for the current season, and 2004 Giro d’Italia winner, Cunego, are among the 31 people said to be potentially facing charges as a result of the Mantua investigation. The list of suspects includes former Lampre team manager and Giro d’Italia and world championship winner Giuseppe Saronni, Danish ex-pro Michael Rasmussen who confessed to doping earlier this year, and current riders including Astana’s Simone Ponzi, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Mauro Santambrogio, and Daniele Pietropolli, who is now in his fourth season with Lampre.

Alessandro Ballan, the Italian professional road bicycle racer for UCI World Tour team BMC Racing Team, is best known for winning the World Road Race Championships in 2008 and suffered a severe training crash during a descent as he was riding with his team in Spain. Ballan fractured his left femur, broke a rib and ruptured his spleen, which had to be removed and spent a little more than a week in intensive care. Damiano Cunego, the Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Merida and his biggest wins are the 2004 Giro d’Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. Cunego finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour. He, in 2008, won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race, with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck, with victory in the latter propelling him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings.

The preliminary hearing into the case will consider whether formal charges should be brought against those who have been implicated or not, as well as whether evidence obtained by phone-taps should be admissible. It is not the first time that the Italian Olympic Committee has been involved in the investigation. Its anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, summoned some of the riders implicated, including Ballan, for interviews at his offices in Rome two years ago although he decided to take no further action pending a criminal trial taking place.

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Sunday 06, Jan 2013

  Ballan Incriminates Himself As Doping Prosecution Looms

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Ballan Incriminates Himself As Doping Prosecution Looms

Leaked transcripts of conversations that allegedly took place between Alessandro Ballan and Guido Nigrelli, the pharmacist at the centre of an investigation into doping in Italy, have been published by Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The news appeared to explain the decision of BMC Racing to remove the former world champion from its active roster. Mantova-based investigators managed to gather other evidence, including video footage to implicate a number of past and present riders and staff of Lampre, Ballan’s former team.

The pharmacy of Nigrelli in Mariana Mantovana was said by the newspaper to be akin to a “sacristry of doping” for Lampre riders where it is claimed that riders would hang upon Nigrelli’s every word and buy anabolic steroids, EPO, and human growth hormone besides discussing how to evade testers, and talk freely about teammates.

The Gazzetta reported that Ballan spoke to Nigrelli on 1 April 2009 regarding human growth hormone, given the name ‘G,’ that another Lampre rider, Paolo Bossoni, was due to deliver to him. Ballan again spoke to Nigrelli on 20 April and the pair discussed the cyclist having taken EPO during the previous February’s Giro di Sardegna. After this, BMC Racing relieved both Ballan and former Lampre teammate Mauro Santambrogio of racing duties because of their links to the enquiry.

The 31-year-old will almost certainly face doping charges, including a potential criminal trial, and the prospect of a lengthy ban as well as being fined or even imprisoned if the allegations made against him are found true. In Italy, the judiciary is far more involved in investigations and drawing up charges compared to the English legal system. Italian law also makes use, supply or distribution of banned performance enhancing substances a criminal offence, with punishment including possible fines and even imprisonment, whether for riders or team staff.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor leading the long running investigation in Mantova is to ask a judge to indict 32 people on a variety of doping charges including general manager Beppe Saronni, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and  2004 Giro d’Italia winner Damiano Cunego, according to La Repubblica. The riders, team staff and others allegedly involved in a doping ring run by Nigrelli also include the likes of Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen and Movistar’s Marzio Bruseghin. The Italian Olympic Committee, CONI, has announced in 2011 that 2004 Giro d’Italia winner Damiano Cunego and former Lampre-ISD team manager Giuseppe Saronni will appear before its anti-doping prosecutor for answering charges resulting from a three-year investigation into doping based in Mantova wherein 32 people are accused of doping, including the former Rabobank rider Michael Rasmussen and ex-world champion Alessandro Ballan of BMC Racing.

According to recent news, BMC Racing’s Alessandro Ballan, who broke his left leg and a rib, punctured one lung, and ruptured his spleen in a high-speed crash during a team training ride near Parcent, Spain, was resting comfortably after undergoing surgeries to remove his spleen and repair a double fracture of his left femur. No release date has yet been established for Ballan, who had been due to ride at the Tour Down Under in Australia from Jan. 20-27 and has been replaced by Ivan Santaromita, BMC chief medical officer Max Testa said.

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