Banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari assisted former Lampre and Liquigas rider Enrico Franzoi
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) recommended the ban after the Padua (Padova) inquiry revealed telephone calls between Franzoi and Ferrari in 2010. It is the first ban from CONI after it received 550 pages of evidence from Padua, northern Italy.
The public prosecutor in Padua closed the inquiry closed in early December 2014. Leaks revealed that Ferrari helped 38 cyclists to dope in 2010 and 2011, including current team Astana General Manager Alexandre Vinokourov.
“Up until now, I was convinced that the most appropriate location to answer charges was a courtroom, and for this I have never commented on the various media reports,” wrote Ferrari on his website 53×12.com in December.
“The latest press campaign… forced me to change my behaviour, and express some simple considerations.”
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Ferrari defended himself against a few of the alleged links to cyclists and said of the many other cyclists listed, “I simply do not know them”.
The names: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Simone Boifava, Diego Caccia, Enrico Franzoi, Marco Frapporti, Omar Lombardi, Fabrizio Macchi, Marco Marcato, Andrea Masciarelli, Francesco Masciarelli, Simone Masciarelli, Daniele Pietropolli, Morris Possoni, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Proni, Michele Scarponi, Francesco Tizza, Giovanni Visconti, Ricardo Pichetta, Andrea Vaccher, Mauricio Ardila, Volodymyr Bileka, Borut Bozic, Maxim Gourov, Vladimir Gusev, Valentin Iglinskiy, Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Karpets, Alexandr Kolobnev, Dimitri Kozontchuk, Roman Kreuziger, Denis Menchov, Evgeni Petrov, Yaroslav Popovych, José Rojas, Ivan Rovny, Egor Silin and Alexandre Vinokourov.
The 61-year-old Italian from Ferrara was Lance Armstrong‘s main doping advisor. He helped Armstrong with EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions according to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation in 2012. As part of that investigation he received a lifetime ban, but Italy had already barred him from working with athletes as early as 2002.
Franzoi raced with Italian teams Lampre, until 2007, and Liquigas, in 2008 and 2009, when he worked mostly as a helper for riders like Alessandro Ballan and Filippo Pozzato. After 2009, he continued as a cyclo-cross racer.
Pozzato (Lampre), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Michele Scarponi (Astana) already served bans for their ties with Ferrari. They escaped serious sentencing because investigators lacked proof that they doped and because it was unclear if the national federation and CONI had listed Ferrari as a banned doctor.
Besides CONI, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has the Padua dossier. President Brian Cookson said that the body could act and withdraw Astana’s team licence if the evidence against Vinokourov and other team members was serious enough.