Team BMC Racing Fires Alessandro Ballan
Earlier today former world champion cyclist Alessandro Ballan was banned for two years for blood doping and fired by the BMC Racing Team.
CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping court, announced the decision after Ballan was indicted on doping charges by a general court in Mantova for alleged team-wide drug use by Ballan's former team, Lampre.
Ballan won the road race at the 2008 World Championships in Varese, Italy.
CONI's anti-doping prosecutor maintained that Ballan resorted to blood doping in Montichiari in 2009.
Ballan claimed in a hearing on Thursday that he used banned drugs to treat an illness.
Ballan is banned to Jan. 16, 2016, and the suspension thus could end the 34-year-old rider's career.
“Ballan has also been fined to pay the costs of this proceeding, estimated at 400 euros and to pay a fine of 2,000 euros,” CONI announced.
BMC Racing Team president and general manager Jim Ochowicz announced that the team was terminating Ballan's contract due to the ban, noting that the suspension was "in connection with his former team."
Also Friday, Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli was banned for life from sports activity and physician Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi was banned for four years.
“Bonazzi has been sanctioned for a period of four years, from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2018,” CONI announced in its statement.
Ballan already served two temporary suspensions from Team BMC during the Mantova court case, which is still proceeding.
Ballan rode for Team Lampre when he won the world title. He also won the Tour of Flanders in 2007. Ballan joined Team BMC Racing in 2010.