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Prosecutor calls for indictments on Ballan, Cunego, 30 others

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Mar. 28, 2012

The chief prosecutor in the Mantova doping investigation has called for the indictment of 32 individuals, including Damiano Cunego and a number of staff members at Lampre-ISD, as well as former Lampre rider Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) and Michael Rasmussen (Cristina Watches-Onfone).

According to Italian daily la Republica, Antonino Condorelli’s indictment request includes Lampre directors Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, as well as Guiseppe Saronni, the team’s former manager who resigned in April 2011 amidst the scandal. Also listed are Simone Ponzi (Astana) and Marco Bandiera (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

Ponzi sits 31st in the general classification at the Three Days of De Panne, where Bontempi is directing the Lampre squad.

The on-again, off-again investigation surrounding the Lampre team and Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli has dogged Ballan and Cunego for more than two years. Investigators allege that Lampre riders and other athletes purchased performance enchancing drugs from Nigrelli.

Ballan’s BMC Racing team has temporarily suspended him twice in relation to the investigation, once in 2010 and again in 2011. Both riders testified before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) late in 2011 in connection to the investigation.

Last May, BMC Racing boss Jim Ochowicz said that, “Both riders have been cooperating fully with the investigation, and, as we did [in 2010], we will respect their presumption of innocence and we expect them to continue their full support to the authorities.”

It is unclear at this point what implications these developments will have on team rosters for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, which Ballan won with Lampre in 2007.

Representatives from BMC Racing, Lampre-ISD, Movistar and Omega Pharma-Quick Step could not be reached for comment on this developing story.

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