Katusha raid riders named, suggestions of links to Dr. Ferrari
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Katusha raid riders named, suggestions of links to Dr. Ferrari

by VeloNation Press at 9:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Kolobnev, Karpets and Ignatiev amongst five named

Alexander KolobnevAs a follow up to yesterday’s news that information relating to five Russian riders was taken from the Katusha team headquarters by Italian NAS police, more details have emerged of the identities of those concerned.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport and L'Equipe, the five riders are past world championship runner-up and Olympic bronze medallist Alexander Kolobnev, Vladimir Karpets, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vladimir Gusev and Evgeni Petrov. Four of those are currently with the Russian Katusha team, while Petrov was previously riding with the squad but has moved to Astana.

The newspaper adds that the details taken pertained to the riders’ biological passports.

Two other riders were scrutinised yesterday, namely Lampre-ISD’s Michele Scarponi and Leonardo Bertagnolli.

AP is reporting that the raids related to the two teams were carried out on riders linked to the Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, one of the most notorious people in cycling. He worked with Alexander Vinokourov in the build-up to the 2007 Tour de France, with the Kazakhstan rider then testing positive for a blood transfusion and incurring a two year ban.

Prior to that, he worked on an exclusive basis for the US Postal Service team, currently the subject of a federal investigation. Former rider Floyd Landis has implicated Ferrari in doping the team; this is denied by its former leader Lance Armstrong.

Seven years ago, Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud and abusing his medical license to write prescriptions. His medical licence was suspended for a year and he was fined €900, but he was able to overturn this ruling on appeal as the statute of limitations had expired on evidence presented in the original case.

Many teams forbid their riders from working with him, and the Italian Olympic Committee CONI reportedly has the power to suspend riders who are found to be doing so.

Kolobnev has not yet commented officially on the claims. However he issued a peculiar message on Twitter this morning. “Looks like Russian Mafia still alive ;) And somebody get afraid.”

It is not known if he is referring to yesterday’s events. His Katusha team has said that it is cooperating with authorities, and will provide whatever information NAS requests.


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