Following the publication of e-mails allegedly exchanged between Patrice Ciprelli, husband and coach of Jeannie Longo, and the former US rider and drug dealer Joe Papp, the Frenchman has denied any involvement.
In a statement made by his lawyer, Bruno Ravaz, Ciprelli accused the newspaper L'Equipe of having faked the documents in which the purchase of 80,000 iu of EPO is being discussed.
"Patrice Ciprelli formally denies any implication. To him, they are crude fakes and so he may resort to filing suit in this affair," said the statement.
In an interview with L'Equipe, Papp confirmed the transaction. The French Cycling Federation has already opened an investigation and suspended Ciprelli from coaching.
The revelations have also indirectly implicated another French rider, Edwige Pitel, who was coached by Ciprelli in 2007 when the alleged EPO purchase took place. Pitel was outraged to see her name linked to performance-enhancing drugs in the L'Equipe report, which mentioned that it was Pitel and not Longo who became French champion that year, two months after the alleged emails were sent.
"I am disgusted to have my name tainted like this, by association and without any proof," Pitel told RTL radio on Tuesday morning. "I have always been against doping and now I am being sullied in an EPO affair. As I understand it, I am never mentioned in the exchanges. Just because he coached me in 2007 and because I beat Jeannie, they are saying that it [the EPO] was for me..."
"My conscience is crystal clear, but what has been done is done. The association has been made and now there will always be a doubt about me," she deplored.