BMC stand behind Ballan and Santambrogio with Mantova charges pending

Following confirmation yesterday that a decision is due over whether to charge any of the 32 people named in the final report into the long-running Mantova-based doping investigation, BMC Racing Team has said via a statement that they are yet to be "notified or contacted officially" regarding the case.

"We will take no action regarding Alessandro Ballan or Mauro Santambrogio unless we receive an official request to do so from an appropriate authority (i.e., WADA, UCI, CONI or the Italian Cycling Federation)," said BMC Racing Team general manager, Jim Ochowicz. "Throughout its entirety, both riders have fully cooperated with investigators. For both riders the presumption of innocence is to be respected also by the team."

The investigation focused largely on the activities of Nigrelli and the Lampre squad in 2008 and 2009, and damning transcripts of phone conversations implicating Alessandro Ballan were published in Gazzetta dello Sport on the eve of last year's Giro d'Italia.

As was the case when news of the investigation first broke in 2010, Ballan and his teammate Santambrogio were both pulled from racing by BMC before returning to action a number of weeks later. Ballan appeared before an Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) panel to discuss the matter last summer.

According to reports in Gazzetta dello Sport and on Wednesday evening, the 32 people who were named in Antonino Condorelli's final report in April 2011 will learn in the next three months whether or not they will be charged with offences including the trafficking, prescription, administration and use of prohibited substances.

The matter now passes from the Mantova public prosecutor to a preliminary hearing judge, who will announce a date for a hearing within the next four months. At that point it will also be decided who is to be prosecuted and who is to be absolved.


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