The following is an open letter from Dr. Michele Ferrari to Cyclingnews. On Friday, July 23, Cyclingnews published a blog from Greg Lemond titled ‘Bravo to the new generation’. Lemond, a three-time winner of the Tour de France and staunch anti-doping advocate has written a blog for Cyclingnews since the start of the Tour in Rotterdam.
You can read ‘Bravo to the new generation’ here.
Dr. Michele Ferrari is an Italian coach who has worked with the likes of Moser, Merckx and Armstrong. On October 1, 2004, Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud and abusive exercise of the profession of pharmacist and sentenced by Judge Maurizio Passarini.
On May 27, 2006 the Italian Court of Appeal in Bologna absolved Dr. Michele Ferrari of all charges.
After reading Mr LeMond's blog article "Bravo to the new generation" which concerned me personally, I felt compelled to compose an appropriate response in order to clarify a few of the issues presented in his letter:
- I have never met Erwann Mentheour, nor had any kind of relationship with him, as resulted and documented in the proceedings of my Court Trial, during which the issue of Mentheour was actually dismissed already in the preliminary phase and archived as completely unfounded.
Moreover, the same Mentheour never declared in front of Judicial Authority that the “dottore” was in fact Michele Ferrari.
His "Veritè sur le dopage" is rich of fanciful lies such as the one of the “solcinella” potion, which Greg LeMond actually reports about in inaccurate and slanted fashion.
- I have never coached more than twenty professional cyclists at the same time. In recent years, less than half of that.
- It is not true that the athletes paid for my services with a percentage of their salary: it is a false legend, originated from the so-called "Dossier Donati".
Such a document is a collection of anonymous confidentialities on doping in sports, rapidly dismissed and archived by both Sport and Ordinary Justice due to total lack of verification/confirmation: in other words, nothing more than a festival of “it is said” and a triumphant display of “it seems”.
It is probably from this dossier that Greg Lemond drew the “rumours” and quotes the numerous “it was saids” in his letter.
But what Greg does not know, or pretends not to know, is that one of such “confidants” actually clearly mentions his name and that of his doctor in relation to doping events.
- It is absolutely false that cyclists contacted me for doping programs: some came to me at first with such request, but never came back twice.
For 30 years I have been developing my coaching methods and organizing training programs for top-level cyclists, and have been pretty good at that, if we consider that so many utilize my evaluation protocols and copy my work methods.
Sure, doping has always been rooted in the world of sports and cycling in particular; from my part, I have always tried to dissuade, proposing legal and efficient alternatives: training, nutrition, altitude.
- Finally, Greg LeMond evokes the deaths of "many cyclists" and deviously associates them to doctor-patient relationships within the peloton.
I call upon the courageous Greg to name any name.
What is certain is that none of the athletes I coached ever died, nor had any “sudden illness”, be it daytime or nighttime.
Unfortunately, sudden deaths among sportsmen have always existed, as among common people, and have too often been instrumentally assimilated to doping.
Dr. Michele Ferrari