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Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
Former Lampre rider face questioning about Mantova investigation
The BMC team recently lifted Alessandro Ballan’s suspension and like former Lampre teammate Marzio Bruseghin, he is currently riding the Tour de Suisse. However both could soon face another suspension after being summoned for questioning by the Italian Anti-doping Procura as it continues to study details of the police investigation into a possible doping ring in Mantova.
Ballan and Bruseghin have been called for questioning on June 27, the Monday before the start of the Tour de France. A total of ten people have been summoned. Also on the list are their former Lampre teammates Massimiliano Mori, Paolo Bossini, and Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.
Spanish doctor Taus Josè Ibarguren has also been summoned for question after he was also implicated in the case. However Ballan’s current BMC teammate Mauro Santambrogio is not in the list published by the official website of the Italian Olympic Committee.
Many of the Lampre riders were obliged by the Italian team to travel from across Italy to see Nigrelli in Mantova. The riders and Nigrelli have denied any wrong doing, with Nigrelli insisting that he only supplied legal medicines to Lampre team at discount prices. However the police investigation is centred on the sale and use of prohibited substances including EPO, ephedrine, testosterone and corticoid-steroids.
Italian police believe that those involved used code words such as ‘lollypop’, ‘egg’, ‘topo gigio’ and ‘culatello’ to describe the products they were using.
The Mantova public prosecutor explained that the police used phone taps and tailed people as part of the investigation.
“Beyond the intercepted telephone calls, police from the NAS [the Italian anti-drug squad], carried out shadowing and ambush operations,” Condorelli told Corriere della Sera newspaper in April. “That is how we discovered that Alessandro Ballan would have undergone an auto-blood transfusion in a surgery in Montichiari, where a doctor, Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi, is also under investigation.”