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Lance Armstrong Alleged to Have Paid Italian Doctor Banned for Doping

by John Symon
September 23, 2011 – Seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong was back making headlines alleged to have paid money to Italian doctor Michele Ferrari according to reports published in the mainstream, Milan-based Italian daily, Corriere della Sera.  Ferrari, has long been rumoured to be involved with helping top level cyclists with doping and was  found guilty of malpractice by an Italian court because of this in 2004, but was absolved of more serious charges of provided doping products to cyclists.

At the time of this court decision, Armstrong spoke about his long-time friendship with the doctor. “Dr. Ferrari has been a long-time friend and trusted adviser to me and the USPS team, during which time he never suggested, prescribed or provided me with any performance-enhancing drugs. I was pleased to hear that Dr. Ferrari was acquitted of the charge of providing illegal drugs to athletes… I personally wish the very best for Dr. Ferrari and his family during this difficult time.”

Armstrong, who had been working with the doctor since 1999, publicly severed his working relationship with Ferrari in 2004 but admits to meeting with Ferrari non professionally since then.

Now Corriere della Sera, citing work by Swiss and Italian investigators, claims that Armstrong paid Ferrari through a front company in Switzerland, Health and Performance. It is alleged that Ferrari was behind this company that went into liquidation in 2010.

The recent reports do not specify any amounts paid nor any dates for the alleged payments to Ferrari’s company but an article in Sports Illustrated on this matter claims that Ferrari’s ring involved money laundering, fraud and doping, with more than 10 million Euros ($13.64 million) in funds seized by authorities during the operation. It also names other high profile riders alleged to be involved including Denis Menchov and Michele Scarponi – read more HERE.

Armstrong is facing an ongoing investigation by a U.S. federal grand jury examining illegal drug use by the cyclist. This investigation could lead to Armstrong being charged with defrauding the U.S. government which was ultimately the sponsor of one of his teams, US Postal Service.

Many cyclists achieved ‘extraordinary improvements’ in the fitness from 1984 onwards while working with Ferrari. Some 30 other top cyclists are suspected of having ‘consulted’ with Ferrari. According to Wikipedia, this list includes:

– Tyler Hamilton – admitted to doping
– Paolo Savoldelli
– Mario Cipollini
– Gianni Bugno
– Giorgio Furlan
– Pavel Tonkov
– Cadel Evans
– Tony Rominger
– Abraham Olano
– Ivan Gotti
– Claudio Chiappucci
– Filippo Simeoni – admitted to doping
– Patrik Sinkewitz – admitted to doping
– Eddy Mazzoleni
– Floyd Landis – admitted to doping
– Levi Leipheimer
– Axel Merckx
– Alexandre Vinokourov – suspended for positive test at 2007 Tour de France
– Michael Rogers

In other doping news, there are new developments in the case of French female cyclist Jeannie Longo who faces disciplinary action from the French Cycling Federation (FFC) resulting from failing to properly indicate her whereabouts – read more HERE. Former U.S. cyclist, Joe Papp (who also testified against Floyd Landis), claims to have sold EPO in 2007 to Longo’s husband, Patrice Ciprelli, but Papp admits to no longer having any proof of this transaction. Longo, who at age 52 is the reigning French ITT champion, is absent from the 2011 Road World Championships in Copenhagen apparently as a result of these recent accusations.

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