The Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal has announced that Paolo Savoldelli will face a disciplinary hearing on May 13 after being accused of doping by the Italian Olympic Committee investigators following a request from the UCI and key testimony from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Savoldelli retired in 2008 but is accused of doping as per the World Anti-Doping Agency's article 2.2 based on testimony from Tom Danielson during USADA's investigation into Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.
Both riders raced with Lance Armstrong at the US Postal Service team in 2005 and 2006. Savoldelli also rode for Team Telekom (2003-2004) and Astana (2007) before ending his career with LPR Brakes-Ballan. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2002 and in 2005, while riding with the Discovery Channel. He also rode in the Tour de France squad that helped Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France before retiring.
Danielson admitted to doping and gave sworn testimony to USADA. He was given a six-month ban but returned to racing in 2013 with Garmin-Sharp.
The Italian investigators have requested a ban of two years and eight months for Savoldelli.
After being questioned by investigators in February, Savoldelli refuted suggestions that his was one of the redacted names (“Rider 1”) in the testimony provided by Danielson to USADA.
Danielson described how “Rider 1,” a fellow Dr. Ferrari client, had organised a system for obtaining EPO during the 2006 Giro d’Italia. “I went to Rider 1 and asked him if he could help me with EPO for the race but he said that he had only enough for himself,” Danielson said.
“Of course I know him, but I don’t know English and he doesn’t know Italian, so how could we have discussed it?” Savoldelli said of Danielson, according to the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“Danielson was given a two-year ban that was reduced to six months for collaborating, so what he says should be taken with a grain of salt. You only need to read his confession with intelligence to realise what it’s worth.”
Armstrong has gone on to admit that he doped between 1995 and 2005 and has said in sworn testimony that Dr. Ferrari helped him dope.
Savoldelli has not deny that he had been a client of Dr. Ferrari but defended his reputation in spite of the weight of evidence that saw USADA hand him a lifetime ban in 2012.
“I collaborated with him in the past, but that was well-known and I didn’t hide it,” Savoldelli said. “Michele Ferrari, as I know him, is the best trainer there is. I won’t put my hand in the fire, but as I know him, he was the best. I don’t know English, and I don’t know if that decision is right or wrong. If he has made mistakes, they will come out.”