Lampre-ISD rider hoping for rapid verdict to save 2013 season
Michele Scarponi has formally admitting doing tests with Dr Michele Ferrari after being questioned by the anti-doping investigators of the Italian Olympic Committee in Rome.
In a possible move to ensure he serves any suspension during the winter, the Lampre-ISD rider offered to be questioned in Rome before the investigators receive all the evidence from the Padua police investigation that lifted the lid on Dr. Ferrari's activities.
Scarponi has already served an 18-month ban for his involvement in Operacion Puerto. Filippo Pozzato was banned for six-month after admitting being coached by Dr. Ferrari and Scarponi could face a similar ban.
Last year Scarponi denied working with Dr. Ferrari to Cyclingnews, saying: "Absolutely not. No way." But Padua police apparently captured a conversation between the two after the test thanks to a listening device hidden in Dr. Ferrari’s camper.
According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, Scarponi talks to Dr. Ferrari about mistakes in his 2010 Giro d'Italia preparation and why he failed to win the Giro. Scarponi finished second behind Alberto Contador in the 2011 Giro d'Italia but was declared the winner after the Spaniard was banned for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
"(Scarponi) tells Ferrari that he could have won the Giro and Ferrari replies that if he'd had a bag, he could have had a chance," Gazzetta reported the Padua police reports as saying.
After being questioned for approximately three hours in Rome, Scarponi briefly spoke to Italian media and then issued a statement, claiming he did not know that Dr. Ferrari was banned from working as a sports doctor.
"I admitted to doing a two-part test with Dr. Ferrari in September 2010 when my contract was running out with Androni Giocattoli," Scarponi said in his statement.
"Soon after I signed a contract with the Lampre team and was followed by the Centro Mapei from the end of October, as documents showed. I was convinced that Dr Ferrari wasn't banned so I acted in good faith."
"I volunteered to speak before the penal investigation is closed so that I can clarify my position with the CONI Procura (the Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping investigators). I gave the Procura the documents I've received from the investigation."
"It's very probably that the Procura will recommend that I face disciplinary action because I accepted the charges and having asked that my position is clarified as soon as possible in the interests of my team."
Italian news agency ANSA reported Scarponi as saying: "I asked, via some lawyers, if he [Dr. Ferrari] was banned and it didn't seem so. Am I expecting a ban? I don’t know but I hope not because I only did two tests."
Dr. Ferrari's long-term links with Lance Armstrong and detailed accusations that he helped a long list of riders dope emerged thanks to the USADA investigation. The disgraced Italian doctor has denied all the accusations.
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