Diego Ulissi has been handed a backdated nine-month suspension after testing positive for the asthma-inhaler drug salbutamol.

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

"Ulissi informed the team that he has received from the Swiss Olympic Association notification of a nine-month suspension starting from 25 June 2014," his Lampre-Merida team said in a statement.

The Italian rider's ban was issued by the Swiss Olympic Association because Ulissi , who has won three Giro d'Italia stages, including two in last year's edition, is based in that country.

Ulissi still insists upon his innocence of anything except negligence.

"Finally a decision has come today after a long and difficult period for me. I feel it is important to underline that its been recognised that I have not acted with the intent to improve my athletic performance, but it has been established that I committed negligently, which of course I regret, especially for the corresponding damage which has been caused to the team," he said in the statement.

"I have always received great support from the team as well as from my family who have constantly stayed close to me throughout these difficult times. I am pleased that, in the light of this decision, my victories and results obtained remain unchanged. I can now start to concentrate and look forward to planning my return to racing."