Filippo Pozzato has spoken of his disappointment at missing out on the London 2012 Olympic Games after he admitted to having being trained by the controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari between 2005 and 2009.
Farnese Vini-Selle Italia faces a hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping tribunal on September 11, when he will discover if he will receive a one-year suspension for his links to Ferrari.
Pozzato has spent the past two weeks in Kenya carrying out voluntary work at the invitation of Italian priest Don Marco Pozza. “I voluntarily suspended myself,” he told the ANSA news agency. “I wanted to leave Italy to get away from it all, I was so disappointed and angry. They denied me my dream. I’m 30 years old, it was the prime age for the Olympics. Everybody says to me ‘you’ll be back in Rio,’ but it’s not the same.”
Ferrari has returned to the headlines in Italy in recent days after it emerged that Italian race walker Alex Schwazer – who tested positive for EPO ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games – was among his clients. Schwazer has claimed that he acted alone in procuring and using EPO.
“I’m sorry for Alex, but my case has nothing to do with his,” Pozzato said. “His positive test for EPO is a defeat for sport. These are ugly stories, stains on sport that destroy myths. We’re examples for young people.”
Speaking of his own rapport with Ferrari, Pozzato stressed that he had never gone to any lengths to hide their collaboration. “Others dressed in black when they went to him so they wouldn’t be seen, but I didn’t. I never hid anything,” he said. “The rules don’t forbid seeing Ferrari. There is a list of 40 people who you’re not allowed to frequent, and his name isn’t on it.
“I’ve done lots of controls and never been suspended. I’m not even suspended now, nor am I under investigation. My biological passport could be an example for many. I told CONI everything, I was transparent. I could have denied everything and gone to the Games.”
Pozzato returns from Kenya on Friday and he confessed that he had also availed of the opportunity to train at altitude during his time there. “I set the alarm for 5 in the morning here to go out on the bike,” he said. “We’re at altitude, over 2,000 metres above sea level. I don’t think I’ve lost a lot in terms of training.”