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Ballan testifies to being offered EPO

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-N.G.C) at the startline of the GP Ouest France

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-N.G.C) at the startline of the GP Ouest France (Image credit: AFP)

World Champion Alessandro Ballan testified in the Via col Doping investigation that an amateur cyclist offered him third generation Erythropoietin (EPO), CERA.

"They offered me CERA, but I refused it," Ballan said in the investigation, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Ballan testified as a witness, not a suspect, in Via col Doping ('Out with Doping'), Padova, Italy. Prosecutor Benedetto Roberti heads the investigation which began after Emanuele Sella's testimony.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) tested Sella July 23, 2008, at his home in Vicenza and the blood controls showed him positive for EPO-CERA. He cooperated with prosecutors and named then-teammate Matteo Priamo as his suppler.

Sella served a one-year ban and returned to cycling last week at the Coppa Agostoni.

There are 30 suspects in the Via col Doping investigation, 10 are professional cyclists and five are doctors. Paolo Bonin, an amateur cyclist, delivered CERA in the Padova area and Priamo used to be in contact with him. Bonin would buy CERA at €350 a vial and sell it for €700, according to La Repubblica.

Bonin approached Ballan when he visited friend and training partner Matteo Tosatto at his home in Riese Pio X.

"I was ringing Tosatto's doorbell when Bonin came up and asked if I wanted CERA. I turned it down," said Ballan.

Filippo Pozzato, professional and winner of the 2006 Milano-Sanremo, also testified as a witness. He said that he knew Bonin and met him during training.

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