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Dr Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004.
“I never saw any doping practice from Lance Armstrong," claims Italian doctor
Dr. Michele Ferrari has denied doping Lance Armstrong and claimed that the American never sought any information on doping from him. Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a US Anti-Doping Agency investigation found him guilty of doping, while USADA has also banned Ferrari for life.
“I never saw any doping practice from Lance Armstrong,” Ferrari told Al Jazeera in a television interview on Friday. “I can say I never saw or heard something about that. He never asked me for information about doping. There are six riders that accused me but these riders, I didn’t have any relationship or any consulting with these guys.”
Former US Postal Service riders Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Michael Barry, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and George Hincapie all provided evidence to USADA regarding Ferrari’s activities, but the Italian attempted to dismiss their allegations and described the investigation as a conspiracy.
“What I can say about the USADA investigation is that there is no evidence, in particular no evidence against me,” Ferrari said. “I can say also there is no evidence, no smoking gun about the accusations. Probably I can suppose that for some of these athletes, the federal investigation was able to demonstrate their doping practice, which they organised by themselves, and to save themselves, they agreed with the USADA conspirations [sic].”
Two of Ferrari’s other clients, Michele Scarponi and Giovanni Visconti, have been handed three-month bans this week for consulting with him, but the doctor claimed that his role consisted of “advising athletes of the best way to train and proposing alternatives – perfectly legal alternatives – to the use of doping.”
While Armstrong opted not to contest USADA’s charges in August of this year, Ferrari said that he is still looking to overturn his own life ban. “We’re considering the possibility of initiating legal action in the United States against the USADA dossier and the life ban,” he said.
Although a 2005 L’Équipe investigation revealed that Armstrong’s samples from the 1999 Tour de France contained EPO and the UCI acknowledged this year that he returned a “suspect sample” at the 2001 Tour de Suisse, Armstrong was never sanctioned during his career for formally failing a doping control.
Asked why this was the case, Ferrari said: “Because he was clean. The test could have been a smoking gun but it never happened.”
“So, either he was clean – and in my opinion, he was clean and he says he was clean – or the tests are not powerful,” Ferrari added, before laughing: “Or the UCI was corrupt.”