Alessandro Ballan has had his two-year ban, for the use of ozone therapy, reduced by five months by the Court of Arbitration for sport, according to the Italian website Tutobiciweb. The decision allows Ballan to return to racing by August 17 this year, should he find a team. While he refused to discuss the ruling, he said that he had been in talks with teams as he looks to make his comeback.
“I do not yet know parts of the judgment, also because my lawyer Fabio Pavone is involved in hearing,” Ballan told the website. “I will reserve the right to comment at a later time on the CAS decision. I can confirm, instead, that I have the will to return, although in August it will not be easy. I'm still in touch with some teams and I never stopped training because I have always believed in a return."
In December 2012, Ballan also suffered a serious training crash that required emergency surgery and kept him out of racing for much of the following season. Aside from a brief period during June and July of 2013, the Italian has been out of action since then.
The case against Ballan looked into the use of ozone treatment in in the spring of 2009, during his time at Lampre. It came to light in 2010 as part of the Mantova investigation, which was based around the activities of the pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and resulted in 28 members of the Lampre team going on trial.
Ballan claimed that he received the therapy to treat cytomegalovirus but was handed a suspension and a fine of €2,000 by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in January 2014. The Italian was subsequently fired by his BMC team after standing by him during the investigation. "It's a story of 2009, in a period when I was injured and I raced,” said Ballan.
“I have made a mistake but not serious enough to justify such a procedure: I was suspended the first time in April 2010 on the eve of Roubaix, was heard at the doping tribunal in July 2011 and have waited two and a half years before setting up the process. On 16 January 2014, was sentenced to two years of disqualification, I immediately resorted to CAS and now the judgment has come, and finally I see a little 'light at end of the tunnel."