Alessandro Ballan is holding out hope that he will reach an agreement to race with Southeast-Venezuela for the 2016 season. According to a report in the Gazzetta dello Sport, a final decision on the proposed arrangement between the rider and team will be announced with in the next seven days.
During the Montova investigation, Ballan admitted to using the banned ozone therapy to treat cytomegalovirus back in 2009, in a hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). He was given a 19-month suspension and fired from the BMC Racing team in January of 2014. His ban was lifted last August.
In December last year, Ballan and other past and current members of the Lampre-Merida were cleared of any wrongdoing in the Montova doping trial, which implicated pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.
He has expressing an interesting in racing again but so far hasn’t been able to find a team. Although it was reported that he has been in negotiations with Southeast since last December, he has yet to sign a contract. He set a deadline to find a contract, which was December 20 last year, and said he would retire if he couldn't reached an agreement, but that date has come and gone and he is still hoping for a contract.
Gazzetto dello Sport reported Wednesday that the team and rider are close to an agreement and that a final decision will be made by next week.
The report also suggests that the decision is being moved along by Southeast’s bike sponsor Wilier Triestina. The company sponsored Ballan when he won the world championship title in 2008 in Varese, and in 2009, as the bike sponsor of his former team Lampre during those two seasons.