Michele Ferrari denies doping Lance Armstrong or ever seeing him dope
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Michele Ferrari denies doping Lance Armstrong or ever seeing him dope

by Ben Atkins at 2:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Notorious Italian doctor dismisses testimony in USADA files as that of guilty riders trying to save themselves

lance armstrongNotorious doctor Michele Ferrari was handed a life ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in July for his - not inconsiderable - part in the systematic doping of Lance Armstrong and his US Postal team. Ferrari has been banned from working with Italian cyclists since 2002 - although an administrative error saw him temporarily fall off the banned list - but continued to work with Armstrong and his teammates in what was said to be an exclusive deal.

Despite the pages of eyewitness testimony, as well as evidence of payments in excess of a million dollars from the now-disgraced American, Ferrari still denies ever having doped - or assisted in doping - any riders.

Speaking in an interview with TV station Al Jazeera, the Italian once again repudiated the allegations against himself and Armstrong.

“I've never seen any doping practice from Lance Armstrong,” he said. “I can say I’ve never seen, I never heard something about that. He never asked me for information about doping.

“My relationship with some teammates of Lance Armstrong was very, very short and occasional. It was not strict. There are six riders that accused me, but these riders, I didn't have any relationship, any consulting with these guys”

Asked why it was that - if he had never doped or given doping advice to the riders that named in him in the USADA evidence - they would make such accusations, Ferrari claimed to have is own theory.

“The Federal Investigation was able to demonstrate their [the riders’] doping practice, and to save themselves the witnesses agreed with the USADA conspiracy,” he said. “There is no evidence, no smoking gun about the investigations.”

Before his association with Armstrong, Ferrari was most famous - while he was team doctor to Gewiss-Ballan - for comparing the abuse of EPO to drinking too much orange juice. This has long been interpreted as an opinion that athletes should be allowed to take whatever they like to make them faster, but he denies having this attitude.

“I don’t agree with this liberalisation which has been suggested by some because I believe that there must be limits, within which we have to stay to protect the health of athletes,” he said.

Rather than being the Frankenstein-style villain that he has been painted as in the media, therefore, Ferrari claims to simply be a trainer; one apparently so good that riders will risk their careers to seek out his advice.

"My job consists essentially, I would like to say exclusively, of advising athletes of the best way to train and proposing to these athletes alternatives – perfectly legal alternatives – to the use of doping substances,” he explained. “High altitude training for instance rather than using Erythroprotein [EPO -ed] but, not only this also the use of nutrition in a targeted way.”

When the question as to how come, since USADA had found Armstrong guilty of so much systematic doping, he never failed a test, Ferrari’s answer was simple.

“Because he was clean…” he smiled. “In my opinion, he was clean, and he says he was clean; or, the tests are without effect, with no power…

“Or the UCI was corrupt,” he concluded with a laugh.

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