Betsy Andreu critical of Dr. Ferrari’s claims that Armstrong work had no doping links
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Betsy Andreu critical of Dr. Ferrari’s claims that Armstrong work had no doping links

by Shane Stokes at 9:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Says camper van was used as a means to avoid media

Lance ArmstrongResponding to a statement by Dr Michelle Ferrari on his personal website denying any wrongdoing, Betsy Andreu, one of Lance Armstrong’s biggest critics, has questioned his claims that there is an innocent explanation for his activities.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published a story this week reporting that Italian investigators had linked Ferrari to an alleged doping network based in the Neuchatel region of Switzerland and operating under the cover of a company he set up in 1996 called Health and Performance.

Reportedly aiding riders such as Lance Armstrong, Denis Menchov, Vladimir Gusev, Vladimir Karpets, Michele Scarponi and others, the company was fronted by Ferrari’s son Stefano and has been linked to what investigators believe could encompass money laundering, fraud and doping.

La Corriere della Sera claims that more than 10 million euros ($13.64 million) in funds has been seized by authorities, including 2.4 million euros ($3.27 million) from Menchov.

Andreu is the wife of Armstrong’s former US Postal Service team-mate Frankie Andreu and says that some of what was reported by the newspaper rang true. It stated that in order to avoid detection, Ferrari used foreign cellphones, utilised a mobile camper van as a medical office in Italy and Switzerland and used his son to liase with the riders and thus create some distance.

“I first met Ferrari in 1999 and he had a camper van then,” she told VeloNation today. “It was strange to me that we were meeting the doctor on the side of the road, outside of a big city, in the parking lot of a big hotel where he had the van. Who meets their doctor that way? It was all very peculiar.”

Writing on his site about his use of those vehicles, Ferrari said there was an innocent explanation. “My professional activity takes place mainly on the road, with the execution of tests evaluating the fitness of athletes on climbs or flat courses,” he wrote. “Hence the need to utilize a camper van as a commodity, in order to allow the athlete to take a shower and discuss comfortably about the results of the test. Surely not to ‘evade the controls’”

However Andreu said another reason was given to her when she remarked twelve years ago that the use of the camper van didn’t make sense to her. “Lance said then it was ‘so the f**ing media doesn’t find him,’” she said. “It was so that he would be hard to find. That is the reason – that came out of Lance’s mouth.”

Armstrong disputed keeping Ferrari work low key:

Lance ArmstrongThe claim contrasts with what Armstrong said when he gave a sworn statement on November 30th, 2005, in connection with his dispute with the insurance company SCA Promotions. It had withheld a $5 million bonus he was due for winning multiple Tours, and this led to a court action.

Asked then about Ferrari staying in separate hotels to the team during training camps and if he intentionally tried to prevent people from knowing that he and the US Postal Service squad were working with the doctor – who at the time had a controversial reputation within the sport – Armstrong denied it.

“If what you're trying to say is we were trying to hide him, that's absolutely not true,” he answered in his deposition.

During that questioning, Armstrong was asked why he had not mentioned the doctor once in his autobiography. “I've never said he had a significant impact. I didn't -- you cannot put everybody in your life in a book…,” he answered.

“It's one of the downfalls of writing a book. I don't know if you've ever written one, but you cannot include everybody in the book. And – nor should you.”

When asked about her then-husband’s relationship with Ferrari in a later deposition, given on October 1st 2009 in relation to the Greg Lemond vs Trek case, his former wife Kristin Armstrong was instructed not to comment by her lawyer, Tim Herman.

Ferrari still in spotlight:

Six years on from that first deposition, Ferrari remains under scrutiny and continues to make headlines. As before, he still insists he’s done nothing wrong. On his website, he countered several of the claims made in the Corriere della Sera article.

He wrote:

- I have never been stopped by Swiss Custom Officials, much less with a "bag full of cash".

- I have known for a long time to be at the centre of an international investigation moved by several interests, old grudges and "scores to settle", and I knew I would be under surveillance and wire tap.

- the investigators have made several "blitzes", based on imaginative interpretations of interceptions, against athletes and people related to me, which led to nothing but the discomfort and the intimidation of the interested parties.

- my son Stefano is administering a website which offers personalized training consultancy to various cyclists and triathletes; Lance Armstrong is among them.

- I never had knowledge, or availability of access to any bank account in Locarno, let alone "on behalf of certain nominee."

The claim – and now, Ferrari’s admission – that his son Stefano had business dealings with Armstrong is one which will surprise many. In 2004 the doctor was investigated for doping and was convicted of sporting fraud and abusing his medical licence to write prescriptions. Armstrong officially ended his association with him then, and though those convictions were later dismissed due to the statute of limitations, the relationship was never officially restarted.

Lance ArmstrongFerrari continues to have a lifetime ban from working with athletes in Italy, with anyone who breaks that being liable for suspension.

In April an unnamed Italian law enforcement official said that the American rider met Ferrari repeatedly, including prior to his final Tour de France last July. He told AP that these meetings took place most often in St. Moritz in Switzerland, but also in Monaco.

Following the official’s statement, Armstrong’s spokesman Mark Fabiani confirmed that meetings did take place. However he claimed they were on a friendly, personal basis only.

Now the suggestions that large sums of money were sent, and Ferrari’s admission that the Texan had been working with his son will naturally lead to questions. Why end an association with someone, only to work with his son? And how can a personal relationship be claimed with someone and his family, as was stated in April, if large transfers of cash are proven to have been made?

Andreu is scathing about the explanations. “How stupid does he think people are, to say that he wasn’t working with Ferrari, that he was working with his son? How dumb does he think people are?” she said. “Everybody else with common sense knows that it is a front for a reason. The company is set up by Ferrari, and that is where the money will go.

“They are just trying to find any lie they can use, because stupid people will believe stupid lies.”

Armstrong continues to deny ever having doped. He and the US Postal Service team are the subject of a long-running federal investigation, and are waiting to hear if indictments will be made or not.

Having never publicly acknowledged working with Ferrari's son will certainly raise doubts for many, and not making mention of it when he admitted "personal" visits with Ferrari will likely be a major PR mistake. It could be even more serious if this is also news to federal prosecutors.


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