Astana have released a statement responding to allegations centred around their Danish star Jakob Fuglsang.
Fuglsang, winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné and Liège-Bastogne-Liège last season, has been accused of training with the banned doping doctor Michele Ferrari in a leaked report.
According to the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) report, seen by Danish media, Fuglsang has been seen with the controversial figure and that Ferrari was present at the 2019 Vuelta a Catalunya with Fuglsang’s Astana team.
Astana said they do not collaborate with any “suspicious doctor,” including Michele Ferrari, and that riders are not allowed to consult with outside doctors about their performance.
A statement from the Kazakhstani squad, released on Monday (February 3), said: “Astana Pro team has taken note of the press article by Danish and Norwegian media relating to the existence of an alleged confidential report by CADF suspecting some riders of the team to have been in contact with banned Dr Michele Ferrari.
“Astana Pro Team is committed to the fight against doping in sport. The team requires from all its affiliated riders that they comply all time with all obligations under anti-doping regulations, including the prohibition to be associated with banned individuals or doctors. The team does not collaborate with any suspicious doctor, such as Dr Michele Ferrari. The riders are not authorised to consult any doctors external to the team in order to perform any activity, or to be prescribed any diet or treatment, related to their performance.”
According to the reports by Danish newspaper Politiken, the CADF report says that Ferrari was present at the 2019 Vuelta a Catalunya with Astana and that Fuglsang’s team-mate Alexey Lutsenko was present at a meeting between Fuglsang and Ferrari in Monaco. However, there is no evidence to suggest Lutsenko was working with the doctor.
Ferrari has been banned from working in any kind of sport since 2012 after he failed to contest a charge from USADA accusing him of administering and trafficking prohibited substances.
As well as the leak, Politiken says they have spoken to 12 people within the cycling world who confirm that Fuglsang was allegedly spotted training with Ferrari close to Monaco. They claim the Dane was “interval training behind a scooter” with the Italian doctor.
A number of these people say one specific top cyclist told them they saw Fuglsang and Ferrari together, but that this rider is refusing to come forward despite repeated attempts to get them to speak.
The report says its task was to identify any potential links between Ferrari, his son, Stefano, and the Astana team, in particular, Jakob Fuglsang. Stefano has not been found guilty of any doping offences in the past.
Astana said: “The licence of Astana Pro Team has been renewed for the year 2020, confirming the full compliance by the team with all its obligations, including in terms of fight against doping in cycling.
“The team is in contact with the UCI and CADF in order to know more; it will collaborate with any inquiry that could be opened by CADF or the UCI.
“However, for the time being, no procedure has been initiated against any rider affiliated to the team. The Astana Pro Team trusts that if the CADF had any evidence of wrongdoing by any rider of the team, disciplinary proceedings would have been immediately initiated in accordance with anti-doping regulations and the World Anti-Doping Code.”
Fuglsang and Lutsenko have yet to comment on the case.
Update: On the afternoon after the allegations were first published, Michele Ferrari released the following statement denying the claims made in Politiken.
Ferrari said: “Once again I unfortunately find myself compelled to deny the latest media hoax that concerns me.
“I have not had any relationship with athletes from Team Astana for over 10 years. I haven’t been to Monaco/Nice for at least 12 years. I have never been on a scooter/motorbike in my entire life, let alone motor-pacing a cyclist. I haven’t been to the Vuelta Catalunya in 2019. I haven’t physically been present at a single race since 1994. The ‘report’ is based on false reports from probable interested parties. I have no base in Lugano, a place where I have never been. I have never been convicted of doping.”