Michele Scarponi responded to accusations that he is a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari with a carefully worded statement.
On Friday Gazzetta dello Sport published extracts from police documents allegedly giving details of conversations between the Lampre-ISD rider and Dr. Ferrari. A conversation apparently captured by a listening device in Dr. Ferrari’s camper concerns what Scarponi may have needed to win the Giro d’Italia.
"(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 reports the police report as saying in investigative documents.
Scarponi replied in a press release issued by his agent Raimondo Scimone, who is also embroiled in the Padua investigation into Dr. Ferrari. Scimone has admitted he is also under investigation but has denied this is for any doping crimes.
Last year he denied ever working with Dr. Ferrari to Cyclingnews. Now he has changed his version, claiming he only underwent two tests with the disgraced Italian sports doctor. He also claims he did not work with Ferrari after signing a contract with Lampre in 2011. Scarponi finished fourth in the 2010 Giro d'Italia and was declared the winner of the 2011 Giro after Alberto Contador was disqualified as part of his doping ban.
Ferrari was banned for life by the Italian Olympic Committee in 2002, and Scarponi now risks a getting a ban for working with him.
Filippo Pozzato was banned for three months for his links with Dr. Ferrari recently. Other riders may face similar bans and could be involved in doping investigation following the revelations of the USADA documents.
“There is only one truth: In September 2010, on my own initiative, I did a test, divided over two different days, in the presence of Dr. Ferrari,” Scarponi says in the statement.
“After I signed my contract with Lampre, which started on January 1, 2011, I followed the orders of the team and the Mapei Center for all my preparation and training.”
“I was searched in April 2011 while I was training at altitude on Etna with other members of the team and at the same time at home, and also received official notification about the investigation by the Padua investigators. I showed the statement (from the search) to my team, which stated that no illegal drugs had been found (the article claims that illegal drugs were found in all the searches).”
“Any other affirmations other than these are not true and to be considered false and damaging to my image and that of the team. As a result, the authors will have responsibility for them and will be called to do so by my lawyers. They have already contacted the Italian Anti-Doping investigators to explain my position, as was already done in June.”
The June hearing was pushed back upon the request of Scarponi. The Padua police have refused to reveal the details of the evidence they have on Scarponi and any other Italian riders, fearful of leaks that could compromise the case.
They expected to formally conclude their investigation in a month’s time and so the full details will soon emerge.