The Southeast-Venezuela team have confirmed that they will not sign Alessandro Ballan for the 2016 season due to an existing internal rule and ethics charter that does not allow the team to sign riders who have served at least a six-month ban for two years following their suspension.
In the last few days several Italian media have reported that the former 2008 world champion is close to joining the Italian Professional Continental team after serving his ban for illegal ozone therapy.
On Tuesday, six riders from Venezuela were also linked to the team due to Venezuela becoming the team’s second sponsor. However, team manager Angelo Citracca confirmed to Cyclingnews that the rule, which has been in place since 2014 when the team were hit by doping cases involving Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio, means that Ballan and Venezuela’s Miguel Ubeto will not be able to join the team.
Ballan has been linked to the Southeast team for some time after it emerged that the team’s bike sponsor, Wilier Triestina, was keen to give Ballan a chance to make a comeback. 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.
Citracca’s two-line statement revealing the internal rule, has put an end to Ballan’s return with Southeast.