Evans' domestique Santambrogio free to race Giro d'Italia

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World Champion Cadel Evans will have Mauro Santambrogio at his side as he races for the Giro d'Italia title this month. BMC Racing determined its Italian rider is unconnected to the Mantova doping investigation and should start racing again.

Team president Jim Ochowicz said, "We are pleased that the findings from our own investigation and that of the police have turned up no evidence of wrong-doing by Mauro Santambrogio."

BMC Racing pulled both Santambrogio and Alessandro Ballan from competition when it learnt that they were linked via their former Lampre team to a police investigation of a pharmacy in Mantova, Italy. Some current and former Lampre riders had to give statements to Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS), including Santambrogio.

"I went to the NAS in Brescia Monday with my lawyer Norma Gimondi [daughter of Felice - ed.], responding to everything that was asked of me," Santambrogio told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "And I continued to train with determination because I was sure of myself. I do not figure in that story.

"The team stayed in contact with me and I heard from Cadel Evans everyday. Now, I want to help him win the Giro d'Italia."

The Giro d'Italia starts Saturday in Amsterdam and continues Wednesday in Italy. Evans has finished twice second in the Tour de France and is a favourite for the overall win.

Santambrogio joined BMC Racing this year after four years with Lampre to help support Evans. Last year, Santambrogio won the Tre Valli Varesine and Trittico Lombardo overall.

Investigators have yet to hear 2008 World Champion, Ballan. BMC Racing pulled him from racing two days before Paris-Roubaix.

Related links

Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.