Alessandro Ballan may be back in the saddle as soon as August after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld his appeal against a two year ban.
Ballan, who rode for BMC until his suspension last season, was originally banned by the Italian Olympic Committee for his part in the Mantova doping investigation.
BMC terminated his contract when the ban was handed down in January 2014, but Ballan took his case to CAS, who ruled his suspension should be reduced by six months, allowing a possible August 17 return.
“I do not yet know the details of the judgment,” Ballan told Italian site Tuttobiciweb. “Also, because my lawyer Fabio Pavone is involved in a hearing, I intend to comment on the CAS decision at a later time.
“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 teams and I never stopped training because I have always believed in a return to the saddle.”
Ballan’s struggle may be to find a team, however, with 11 of the 17 WorldTour teams and all Pro Continental teams signing up to the MPCC anti-doping organisation. This means Ballan cannot sign for these teams until two years after his ban ends.
Team Sky, Trek Factory Racing, Etixx-QuickStep, Movistar, Tinkoff-Saxo and Ballan’s former team, BMC, are the only WorldTour teams not to sign the agreement and would therefore be free to sign the Italian.