Friday, April 15, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: More Connections to Dr. Ferrari

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If you follow pro cycling, you probably know that Dr. Michelle Ferrari is one of, if not, the most controversial doping doctors in the world of cycling. He has been linked several times to doping and worked exclusively with Lance's teams when Lance won the Tour de France seven times. Lance worked with Ferrari since the mid 1990's until Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud seven years ago. At the time, Lance said he cut off all contact with Ferrari.

VeloNation is reporting today that an "Italian law enforcement official said today that (Lance Armstrong) met the controversial Italian doctor repeatedly since (formally claiming to have severed ties to Ferrari in 2004), including prior to his final Tour de France last July. The unnamed official spoke to AP on the subject, saying that the Texan met Ferrari ‘frequently,’ most often in St. Moritz in Switzerland, but also in Monaco." So what does this mean?

This information is one of a few other pieces of evidence suggesting the Lance continued working with Ferrari even after Ferrari was originally convicted. Aside from the obvious implications that this suggests Lance hasn't been telling the whole story about his relationship with Ferrari, I think it also means that there is still work going on behind the scenes with the fraud investigation run by Jeffrey Novitzky.

It appears that the recent news that the pro-cycling team, Katusha, has been implicated in doping charges may also have something to do with the Lance Armstrong investigation. Here are some interesting excerpts in this regard from the VeloNation article:
AP reported earlier today that raids carried out on the Katusha team headquarters ... had links to riders believed to be working with Ferrari. ... According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, those concerned are past world championship runner-up and Olympic bronze medallist Alexander Kolobnev, Vladimir Karpets, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vladimir Gusev and the current Astana rider, Evgeni Petrov. Two other riders were scrutinised yesterday, namely Lampre-ISD’s Michele Scarponi and Leonardo Bertagnolli. 
La Gazzetta reports that the current investigation is linked to meetings held between anti-doping and law enforcement officials last November in France. FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky, US federal prosecutor Doug Miller and US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart were part of the American group present, as were counterparts from France, Italy and Belgium
The Italian link is connected to the Padova anti-doping investigations, being conducted by prosecutor Benedetto Roberti. La Gazzetta reports that he met with Novitzky in late July at the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, and that representatives of the Spanish Guardia Civil were also present.
Armstrong's spokesman, Mark Fabiani, admitted that Lance has met with Ferrari even as recently as last year but, in his usual style, he also dismissed the information as a leak by government sources to make it appear that Novitzky's investigation was a waste of taxpayer funding.

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