Alessandro Ballan

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Alessandro Ballan
Allesandro Ballan by Sławek (cropped).jpg
Ballan at the 2009 Tour de Pologne
Personal information
Full name Alessandro Ballan
Nickname Bontempino
Born (1979-11-06) 6 November 1979 (age 35)
Castelfranco Veneto, Italy
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 68 kg (150 lb)
Team information
Current team Suspended
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Classics specialist
Professional team(s)
2004–2009 Lampre
2010–2014 BMC Racing Team
Major wins

Grand Tours

Vuelta a España
1 individual stage (2008)

Stage races

Driedaagse van De Panne (2007)
Tour de Pologne (2009)

One-day races and Classics

Tour of Flanders (2007)
Vattenfall Cyclassics (2007)
World Road Race Champion (2008)
Infobox last updated on
18 January 2014

Alessandro Ballan (born 6 November 1979 in Castelfranco Veneto, Veneto) is an Italian professional road bicycle racer who most recently rode for UCI World Tour team BMC Racing Team. He is best known for winning the World Road Race Championships, in 2008.[1] Although he possesses a frame that is usually more associated with climbing,[citation needed] Ballan has established himself as a leading spring classics contender in recent years. His nickname, Bontempino, is a diminutive reference to Guido Bontempi, to whom he bears a resemblance.[2]

Career[edit]

Ballan turned professional in 2004 with the Lampre team. Despite a decent amateur career, Ballan was not sought after by professional teams, and required a little bit of help to secure a professional contract.[2] In his first season, Ballan worked as a domestique for Romāns Vainšteins and Gianluca Bortolami.

2005[edit]

In 2005, Ballan was given the opportunity to aim for high placings in the spring classics and achieved a stage victory and second overall in the Three Days of De Panne,[3] along with sixth place in the Tour of Flanders,[4] having attacked the leading group with 37 km to go. Later in the season, he achieved his first ProTour victory in taking stage 4 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux.[5]

2006[edit]

In 2006, Ballan started his spring classics campaign as a highly rated contender, given his performances in 2005 and his success in the warm-up races in winning the Trofeo Laigueglia,[6] a second place to Tom Boonen in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen[7] and third overall at the Tirreno–Adriatico.[8] Ballan was a leading protagonist in the classics: he took fifth at the Tour of Flanders[9] and followed this with third at Paris–Roubaix, following the disqualifications of Peter Van Petegem, Vladimir Gusev and Leif Hoste.[10] Later in the season, Ballan further proved his talent with a second placing in stage 12 of the Tour de France[11] and a third place overall in the Tour de Pologne.[12] Ballan finished in sixth place in the individual rankings of the 2006 UCI ProTour.[13]

2007[edit]

In 2007 Ballan suffered a broken collarbone during Tirreno–Adriatico. Despite this injury, Ballan worked hard in Milan – San Remo, although Ballan's teamleader Daniele Bennati did not win the race. Nearly two weeks later, Ballan won the Three Days of De Panne after an escape during stage 1. Ballan did not win the stage, but beat his nearest opponent Luca Paolini during the closing time trial, in which Ballan finished 10. On 8 April, Ballan took a prestigious win at the Tour of Flanders in a close sprint finish ahead of local favourite Leif Hoste of Belgium. Ballan is the first Italian to win the Tour of Flanders and the Three Days of De Panne in the same season. On 19 August he won the Vattenfall Cyclassics with an attack in the final kilometer, holding off all of the sprinters, including former winner Oscar Freire and hot young German sprinter Gerald Ciolek, to take his second one-day classic of the season.

2008[edit]

His spring of 2008 wasn't as prolific as 2007 although he was involved in the decisive break of Paris–Roubaix and rode hard to a third place behind past winners Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara together with whom he entered the famous Roubaix veledrome losing out in a sprint to the line. This came a week after a fourth place in defence of his Tour of Flanders crown. He again opted to skip his home tour – the Giro d'Italia, but raced in both the other grand tours – the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, winning a mountain stage and wearing the leader's jersey in the latter.[14]

In September 2008 Ballan won the UCI Road Race World Championships. In a race in which 2007 champion and Italian team mate Paolo Bettini was favourite, Ballan was again involved in the decisive break on the final lap of the undulating Varese circuit. From a group of 12 riders, including 2 Italian team mates Damiano Cunego and Davide Rebellin, Ballan attacked from 1500 metres out and held off the sprint to win by 3 seconds in front of his home crowd.[1]

2009[edit]

As if suffering from the Rainbow jersey curse, Ballan was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus in March 2009 and as a result was unable to contest that year's Spring Classics and Giro. During the Tour de France he had an average performance, only coming into the picture in the 19th stage as part of a breakaway which was caught before the finish line.[15]

In August 2009, he won the Tour of Poland.[16] Ballan signed with BMC Racing Team for the 2010 season.[17]

2012[edit]

At the Tour of Flanders in April, Ballan placed third after initiating a break with 25 km to go. Boonen and Pozzato took up the chase and placed ahead of Ballan in the final sprint.[18] In December, Ballan suffered a severe training crash during a descent as he was riding with his team in Spain. He fractured his left femur, broke a rib and ruptured his spleen, which had to be removed. He spent a little more than a week in intensive care.[19]

Doping allegations[edit]

Ballan is one of 27 people indicted in Italy as part of the Mantova doping investigation. In 2010 when the enquiry was announced he was subsequently suspended by the BMC cycling team.[20] He was later cleared by BMC and allowed to race again on 28 May 2010.[21] In November 2013 it was reported that CONI were seeking a 2 year ban for voilation of article 2.2 of the WADA code.[22]

In January 2014, CONI handed Ballan a two-year suspension. His contract with BMC Racing Team was subsequently terminated.[23]

Palmarès[edit]

Grand Tour general classification results timeline

Grand Tour 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Pink jersey Giro - - - - - - 103 -
Yellow jersey Tour 67 88 94 95 87 - - -
red jersey Vuelta - - WD WD - - 63 -

WD = Withdrew; In Progress = IP

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Atkins, Ben; Brown, Gregor; Friebe, Daniel; Kröner, Hedwig (28 September 2009). "Ballan crowned new King of Italy". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Maloney, Tim (2005-04-07). "Ballan following in Bartoli's footsteps?". Cyclingnews.com – First Edition Cycling News for 7 April 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  3. ^ id=road/2005/mar05/depanne05/depanne054 "KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde Results". 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  4. ^ "89th Tour of Flanders Results". 2005-04-03. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  5. ^ "1st Eneco Tour of Benelux Results". 2005-08-10. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  6. ^ "43rd Trofeo Laigueglia Results". 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  7. ^ "49th E3 Prijs Vlaanderen Results". 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  8. ^ "41st Tirreno-Adriatico Results". 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  9. ^ "90th Tour of Flanders Results". 2006-04-02. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  10. ^ "104th Paris-Roubaix Results". 2006-04-09. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  11. ^ "93rd Tour de France, Stage 12 Results". 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  12. ^ "63rd Tour of Poland Results". 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  13. ^ "UCI ProTour Individual Rankings as of 2006-10-14". 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  14. ^ http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2008//vuelta08/?id=results/vuelta087
  15. ^ "World Champion Ballan on track in Roubaix". 
  16. ^ "Italy's Ballan wins Tour of Poland". AFP. 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  17. ^ VeloNews.com (2009-09-01). "Hincapie confirms to BMC with Ballan, Kroon, Burghardt". VeloNews. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  18. ^ Decaluwé, Brecht (1 April 2012). "Boonen wins 2012 Tour of Flanders". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Ben Atkins (28 December 2012). "Alessandro Ballan out of intensive care following leg and abdomen surgery". Velo Nation (Velo Nation LLC). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Lampre refuses to suspend riders over Mantova investigation". 
  21. ^ "BMC Racing Team: Statement Regarding Alessandro Ballan". 
  22. ^ http://www.tuttosport.com/notizia-ultima-ora/altri_sport/2013/11/14-32422/Doping%3A+Procura+Coni+deferisce+Ballan
  23. ^ Wynn, Nigel (17 January 2014). "Alessandro Ballan sacked by BMC after doping ban". Cycling Weekly (IPC Media). Retrieved 18 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tom Boonen
Tour of Flanders
2007
Succeeded by
Stijn Devolder
Preceded by
Óscar Freire
Vattenfall Cyclassics
2007
Succeeded by
Robbie McEwen
Preceded by
Jens Voigt
Tour de Pologne
2009
Succeeded by
Daniel Martin