The Lampre-Merida team has announced that Diego Ulissi will return to racing at the Tour of the Basque Country in early April before riding the Ardennes Classics, the Tour de Romandie and the Giro d'Italia.
The Italian rider was banned for ninth months by the Swiss Olympic Committee after testing positive for the banned substance Salbutamol during the 2014 Giro d'Italia. His ban ends on March 28, with the Tour of the Basque Country begins on April 6.
Ulissi was shown to have 1900 ng/ml of Salbutamol in his system, significantly higher than the 1000 ng/ml allowed by the UCI rules. Ulissi had declared the use of a Ventolin inhaler when undergoing the test– due to a bronchial spasm, but struggled to explain such a high level of Salbutamol.
Both Ulissi and the UCI have not indicated that they will appeal the Swiss sentence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the rider accepting the ban and claiming that the Swiss Olympic Committee accepted that he acted negligently and not with the aim of improving his performance.
After initially delaying a decision on Ulissi's future in the Lampre-Merida team, to study the Swiss Olympic Committee's sentence in full and speak to its sponsors, the Italian squad has included Ulissi in its race programme. He is also expected to be a key rider in the Italian team for the world road race championships in Richmond in the USA.
Ulissi is currently training with several teammates in Tuscany to prepare for his return to racing in early April.