Updated: Saturday, 18 January 2014 03:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Cyclist Ballan banned two years, sacked by BMC

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.


Cyclist Ballan banned two years, sacked by BMC

Alessandro Ballan in Herentals, Belgium, on July 27, 2012 before the Natourcriterium Sint-Niklaas - by Kristof van Accom

Later on Friday, the 36-year-old rider was sacked by his team BMC.

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 ($541) 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 practising 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 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.

BMC have said in recent days they were standing by Ballan pending the outcome of the tribunal.

However in keeping with the team's strict anti-doping policy, Ballan's contract was terminated later on Friday.

BMC, speaking through president/general manager Jim Ochowicz, said in a statement: "The BMC Racing Team announced Friday that it is terminating the contract of Alessandro Ballan.

"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."

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