BMC Racing has announced that it has lifted the suspension it imposed four weeks ago on Italian riders Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio ahead of allegations being published in Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that the pair were being investigated by Mantova-based prosecutors conducting an enquiry into doping.
The newspaper printed what it claimed were transcripts of recordings made by investigators in which the 31-year-old Ballan was reported to have spoken openly about the use of doping products.
As happened when similar allegations first surfaced last year, BMC immediately pulled the Italian pair from its active roster. Both had been due to ride in the Giro d’Italia and somewhat bizarrely, Ballan, who won the World Championship at Varese in 2009, has still never raced in his home tour.
In a statement published on the BMC website, Team President and General Manager Jim Ochowicz said: "To date, the BMC Racing Team has never been notified by any authorities regarding these alleged actions and conversations.
“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."
In its statement, BMC added: “Also, no authority – UCI, WADA, CONI, etc. – has contacted the BMC Racing Team with any suspicious doping issues regarding either rider.
“Both riders continue to fully cooperate with all authorities. Should any appropriate authority contact us with any documented information, the BMC Racing Team will take all appropriate actions that are required.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.