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Ballan handed 2-year doping suspension

ROME (AFP) — Italy’s Alessandro Ballan, the world road race champion in 2008, was handed a two-year doping ban by Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) on Friday. The Italian’s BMC Racing team announced later Friday that it had terminated its contract following the verdict.

Ballan was punished by CONI’s anti-doping tribunal after it ruled he had contravened article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code relating to “the use or attempted use of banned substances.”

A statement from CONI on Friday confirmed the “responsibility of the athlete Alessandro Ballan in contravening article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Code and imposes a suspension of two years with effect from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2016.

“Ballan has also been condemned to pay the costs of this proceeding, estimated at 400 euros and to pay a fine of 2,000 euros.”

Ballan was suspected of being embroiled in a doping affair which has also implicated two doctors, Guido Nigrelli and Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi — both of whom were alleged to have aided his attempt to procure and use banned substances.

CONI prosecutors had initially requested the ban on the basis of evidence supplied by a public prosecutor in Mantua.

CONI banned Nigrelli for life and Bonazzi for four years.

The statement punished Nigrelli 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.

“Bonazzi has been sanctioned for a period of four years, from January 17, 2014 until January 16, 2018.”

Ballan had previously been suspended by BMC Racing due to allegations of doping but after being cleared by the Swiss-American team the Italian, a former winner of the Tour of Flanders, resumed racing again in May 2010.

“Ballan received a two-year suspension from CONI Friday for charges in connection with his former team. In accordance with the BMC Racing Team’s strict anti-doping policy, Ballan is no longer a member of the BMC Racing Team,” team president Jim Ochowicz said in a release.

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