Cycling: Former world champ Ballan banned two years for doping, doc for life

Italian Alessandro Ballan of BMC Racing Team posing before the 4th edition of the Natourcriterium Sint-Niklaas cycling race in Herentals, Belgium, on July 27, 2012. Ballan, the world road race champion in 2008, was handed a two-year doping ban by Ita
Italian Alessandro Ballan of BMC Racing Team posing before the 4th edition of the Natourcriterium Sint-Niklaas cycling race in Herentals, Belgium, on July 27, 2012. Ballan, the world road race champion in 2008, was handed a two-year doping ban by Italy's Olympic Committee (Coni) on Friday.  -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Italy's Alessandro Ballan, the world road race champion in 2008, was handed a two-year doping ban by Italy's Olympic Committee (Coni) on Friday.

He was punished by Coni's anti-doping tribunal after it ruled that he had contravened article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code relating to "the use or attempted use of banned substances".

A statement from Coni on Friday confirmed the "responsibility of the athlete Alessandro Ballan in contravening article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Code and imposes a suspension of two years with effect from Jan 17, 2014 until Jan 16, 2016.

"Ballan has also been condemned to pay the costs of this proceeding, estimated at 400 euros and to pay a fine of 2,000 euros (S$3,460)."

He was suspected of being embroiled in a doping affair which has also implicated two doctors, Guido Nigrelli and Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi - both of whom were alleged to have aided his attempt to procure and use banned substances.

Coni prosecutors had initially requested the ban on the basis of evidence

supplied by a public prosecutor in Mantua.

Coni banned Nigrelli for life and Bonazzi for four years.

The statement punished Nigrelli under "article 2.7 and 2.8 of the World Anti-Doping code and has ordered him to be banned from practising for life from Jan 17, 2014.

"Bonazzi has been sanctioned for a period of four years, from Jan 17, 2014 until Jan 16, 2018."

Ballan had previously been suspended by BMC owing to allegations of doping but after being cleared by the Swiss-American team, the Italian, a former winner of the Tour of Flanders, resumed racing again in May 2010.

BMC have said in recent days they were standing by Ballan pending the outcome of the tribunal.