Sky's Possoni pulled into police investigation of Ferrari

Cycling Weekly news logo

Team Sky has reason to worry ahead of the Giro d'Italia next month. Police pulled one of its race leaders, Italian Morris Possoni, into an investigation of controversial Italian doctor and coach Michele Ferrari when they searched his home yesterday.

Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) of Brescia led the search of Possoni's and Diego Caccia's home in Bergamo. A separate NAS branch searched the home of Caccia's team-mate and Italian Champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini) in Pistoia. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the NAS took planners, contracts and medical reports from the homes. They did not report if they found doping products.

Last week, the NAS also visited Lampre riders Michele Scarponi and Leonardo Bertagnolli, and Katusha riders Alexandr Kolobnev, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vladimir Gusev and Vladimir Karpets; and Astana's Evgeni Petrov (previously with Katusha).

Italian prosecutor Benedetto Roberti in Padova ordered the raids as part of his investigation of Michele Ferrari, Armstrong's former trainer. The courts cleared Michele Ferrari in 2006 of criminal charges accusing him of distributing doping products, but the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) banned him from working with UCI-licensed cyclists in Italy.

Roberti's investigation of Ferrari was jump-started after meetings with US prosecutor Jeff Novitzky in Lyon, France, in November last year. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Roberti has since tracked Ferrari's bank records in Switzerland, which show transfers, some from the USA.

Armstrong last week was rumoured to have met with Ferrari ahead of last year's Tour de France, even though he announced he ended his ties with him in 2004. Novitzky is currently investigating allegations made by Armstrong's former team-mate Floyd Landis. Landis alleged in April last year that Armstrong doped during his Tour de France victories.

In Italy, cyclists may risk a ban of up to six months for being linked with Ferrari, be it training plans or telephone calls. If the NAS finds evidence of doping, it would be much worse. It is also working to pull in Ferrari, who reportedly earned around 15-million euro.

The Giro d'Italia sent out its official list of 207 riders yesterday, Possoni was listed alongside Sky's other eight riders and Scarponi at the top of Lampre's team list. Their participation may be in doubt, given a possible link to Ferrari.

Related links

RadioShack refuses to suspend Popovych despite drug claims

Armstrong grumpy Down Under due to new doping allegations

Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments

Armstrong unconcerned about doping investigation

Armstrong case heads into New Year: Wires and European trips

Armstrong investigation arrives in Europe

Armstrong's team mate Popovych testifies he did not witness doping

Armstrong's team-mate Popovych summonsed in doping investigation

Landis unlikely to stand trial for hacking says manager

Landis admits he doped and implicates others


Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

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.