Olympic campaign under threat following reports of Ferrari link
Filippo Pozzato's participation in the London Olympic Games is under threat having been called to appear before the anti-doping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Tuesday. The meeting is scheduled for 1230pm local time.
The move follows a report in Saturday's La Repubblica which suggested that Pozzato was a client of the controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari, who last week was formally charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), alongside Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.
The article quotes extracts from a telephone conversation intercepted in the summer of 2009, in which Pozzato allegedly speaks of working with Ferrari, something which the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) outlawed in 2002. According to La Repubblica, Pozzato can be heard speaking in Vicenza dialect in the recording, saying "Listen: I went to Ferrari because I asked him myself."
Pozzato also allegedly discusses the Emanuele Sella doping case in the recording, and expresses his distaste at the manner in which the rider had negotiated a reduction on his ban after collaborating with the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) panel.
"If you go to see him in his own house, then you're responsible," Pozzato is alleged to have said. "You don't have a gun pointed to your head. I wanted to go to Ferrari. We're grown-ups aren't we?"
La Repubblica's report notes that the recorded conversation also reveals that it cost €40,000-50,000 per year to be "followed" by Ferrari.
Pozzato's lawyer, Pierfilippo Capello said that the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia rider denied the association.
"We've checked several times with magistrates in Padova and in other places where there are ongoing anti-doping inquiries, and my client is not listed in any register of those under investigation," Capello told Tuttobici and Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ferrari remains banned for life by the Italian Cycling Federation based on rider testimony and other evidence that he provided doping products to athletes, but was cleared of criminal charges in 2006. Riders found to have worked with Ferrari face a possible ban in Italy of between three and six months.
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