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Scarponi: I don't want to talk about Ferrari anymore

Barry Ryan
January 7, 14:50,
January 7, 14:50
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Michele Scarponi in his new Astana jersey

Michele Scarponi in his new Astana jersey

  • Michele Scarponi in his new Astana jersey
  • Michele Scarponi in his new Astana kit
  • Rivals now team-mates Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi talk beft training

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Italian on Lampre impasse and landing on his feet at Astana

A year ago, his reputation was so toxic that he was barred from participating in the Lampre-Merida team’s official photo shoot, but on Wednesday, Michele Scarponi will take centre stage in Brescia as the 2014 Astana team is presented to the world. It’s a funny old game, cycling.

After serving a three-month ban in late 2012 for his links to Dr. Michele Ferrari, Lampre continued to withhold Scarponi from racing and training camps once the 2013 season began, at the apparent behest of new bike supplier Merida.

Scarponi insisted that his relationship with Ferrari had been limited to just two days of testing in September 2010, although when handing down his sanction, the Italian Olympic Committee made a point of stressing that it would revisit the case if further details were to emerge from the ongoing Padova-based doping inquiry.

In spite of that apparent sword of Damocles, however, an agreement was eventually brokered with Lampre that saw Scarponi return to action by late February. He would go on to finish the Giro d’Italia in 4th place overall, represent Italy at the world championships and, by year’s end, secure a deal with Astana that will see him lead their squad at the Giro and flank Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour de France.

“Let’s say that it was quite a cold winter, but when I sat down and spoke with the management, we resolved everything,” Scarponi told Cyclingnews recently of the impasse at Lampre at the beginning of 2013.

“It was one of those moments. Once I got back racing, there was no problem at all with the team, and I just looked to do my season as normal. Then my contract was expiring at the end of the year, so I decided to change teams.”

A decade before USADA’s Lance Armstrong investigation, the Italian Cycling Federation had already banned Michele Ferrari for life in 2002 and prohibited its riders from frequenting him. Along with Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti, Scarponi was one of three riders to be handed a three-month ban in 2012 for availing of Ferrari’s services, but he maintains that their working relationship was limited to just one test on the Monzuno climb near Bologna in September, 2010, when he raced for Androni Giocattoli.

“I don’t like having to talk about these things all the time. Clearly, from my point of view, it was extremely unfair because I only saw him once for a test. To say that I ‘frequented’ him is a bit much. I was given a suspension, I accepted it and basta. It ended there,” said Scarponi, who did little to hide his displeasure at revisiting the matter.

“You’re still asking these questions and it’s something from the past. I repeat: my story was blown out of proportion and I suffered the consequences. For this reason, I don’t even like talking about it. I saw him once, if that, and I paid for it with a three-month suspension. Enough. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Scarponi’s insistence that he was not trained by Ferrari over an extended period of time is not supported by the police phone tap quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport in October 2012, however, in which the two appear to speak in considerable - and damning - detail about his 2010 preparation. 

Even if one takes Scarponi at his word, it is still immensely difficult to comprehend why a rider who had already served a suspension for blood doping under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes would then turn to Michele Ferrari, of all people, for supposedly routine physiological testing.

“I understand the question. Do I have to answer this? I'm thinking about how to respond,” Scarponi said. After a pause, he added: “I never thought that going to see him one time would have brought all of this on top of me. I didn’t think I’d done such a serious thing. Clearly if I could go back, I wouldn’t do it.”

Asked if he felt it was unfair that only three riders (as well as the retired Leonardo Bertagnolli, already suspended for biological passport violations) had been slapped on the wrist for their links to Ferrari, Scarponi said: “I think it’s unfair that you keep asking me these questions. Honestly. I saw him once and this is a new adventure. I think I’ve put it all behind me and basta.”


Scarponi was speaking at his first full training camp with his new team, where, perhaps ironically, his role will be all the more prominent following the collapse of the proposed transfer of Franco Pellizotti from Androni-Venezuela due to Astana’s adherence to Movement for Credible Cycling policy. Signed primarily to support Nibali at the Tour, Scarponi is also set to lead the line at the Giro alongside Fabio Aru.

“It won’t be easy to do both things, but I do think it’s possible to ride the Giro for a good overall finish and then go on to help Vincenzo at the Tour,” Scarponi said of his dual role.

Scarponi has ridden only two Tours during his career and only once (2012) has he raced both the Giro and Tour in the same season. Combining the two in 2014 will pose a conundrum. “It’s never simple. There’s no magic formula, let me put it that way,” he said.

“I’ll look to find an excellent state of form for the Giro. In June, I’ll try to recover my strength a bit and then go to train at altitude with the Tour team. I think that just being in a new team and having a new role at the Tour de France will motivate me a lot.”

Scarponi begins his 2014 campaign with Nibali in Argentina later this month at the Tour de San Luis, and his pre-Giro programme will include the Ruta del Sol, Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro del Trentino. “The level will be very high at the Giro and it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “But then, I’ve been up there with the best of them at the Giro for years, and it’s a race that always gives me a rush of adrenalin when I line up.”

At 34 years of age, Scarponi now has twelve years as a professional behind him, which include 18 months of combined suspensions from Operacion Puerto and his Ferrari links. This time last year, Scarponi's days in the peloton seemed numbered, but after landing on his feet at Astana, the Filottrano native has no plans to call time on his career for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t know. I’ve signed for a year with Astana, with Vinokourov’s team,” he said. “I’ll give everything to repay their faith in me. I hope I can show up to the level of the team and maybe stay on for a few more years.”

sam171 8 months ago
he comes across as such a snake and...basta.
zbranko 8 months ago
Wiggins doesn't want to talk about doping and is arrogant about it. People applaud. Anyone else doesn't want to talk about doping. People boo and hiss. I don't get people on this site.
wfaulconer 8 months ago
Not the best comparison of riders in similar circumstances I don't think. Scar's burden is one of association, "one time" with a banned doctor. It is dubious because we all know you'd only see Ferrari one-time, it's all you need and all you can risk. Tyler detailed what those visits were for, they set a baseline and plan your doping program, teach you how to dope, avoid detection and later tests in similar conditions allow you to measure using the same metrics to chart progress. There's simply no other value that was unique to Ferrari that made it necessary to ever contact him over anyone else.
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
The same applies to Wiggins and Leinders although I'm not sure if that's what zbranko meant
wfaulconer 8 months ago
Did they? I stand corrected then. I don't follow Wiggins' story, not a fan, but if he's had the infamous one-time visit for "consultation" then the same dubious cloud is in fact there, Evans too. It's really sad if the riders were helped to Ferrari's doorstep by their coaches and managers, but they knew the destination before they left safety.
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
Wiggins didn't employ Leinders as a personal consultant though. The team hired leinders for a short period. Let's be fair here: Scarponi has been caught more than once with evidence against him, firstly with the infamous Eufemanio Fuentes and then more recently with Michele Ferrari to whom riders have been banned from associating with due to his past record.
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
Continued: Wiggins has no evidence against him other than innuendo and conjecture.
perfessor 8 months ago
"Wiggins has no evidence against him other than innuendo and conjecture." Just like Lance. Some of the 'conjecture' is solid.
WrinkIyvet 8 months ago
No one is stopping you contact WADA or UK anti doping.
wrinklyvet 8 months ago
I an sorry, but the previous post is absolutely not mine. I know how you registered this name in imitation of mine, and CN refused to respond to me. OK, go about posting stuff as if you were me if it amuses you, but readers please be aware I am being spoofed by a duplicate. if you were a real fan you would not do this.
wrinklyvet 8 months ago
And furthermore, it seems there is not just the one copy. The previous episode spoofing me was by a version that displayed with a lower case "w" in wrinklyvet. Please don't do it.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
very lame to do that to wrinklyvet. Wrinklyvet is not welcome.
boombastic 8 months ago
WrinkIyvet- begone! imposter.
Oxygen Vector 8 months ago
Lets' see - Cadel Evans visited one time with Ferrari too. Oh, NOW I get it. Cadel doped too. Thx for clearing that up, albeit indirectly. Now "we all know".
fwhale 8 months ago
well has he ever been involved with Ferrari or Fuentes?
antmills 8 months ago
Why do some people STILL NOT smell the coffee? ..... Anyone who had contact with Ferrari .... only went to him for one reason!
ttta asa 8 months ago
What's the need of keep asking the same questions over and over again? I didn't get the point of half this interview
Dope Fiend 8 months ago
By asking the same questions again and again, liars are exposed by their varying answers.
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
It's not the doping that bothers me anymore as much as the insults to my intelligence. These guys treat the public as though we're idiots.
pleyser 8 months ago
True, just when you think cycling turns the corner on doping, we hear from someone like Scarponi.
rastymick 8 months ago
I don't think, the intention of those guys is to insult the intelligence of the public... They basically have 2 choices: 1: They "insults people's intelligence" and keep their high paying contacts (some are 1Million+ ) 2: They tell the truth and their career is over tomorrow... Also consider, all the guys who finally ended up telling the truth tried to avoid telling the truth until there was no other option left... So, please don't think there are any "Heroes" under those who confess and finally tell the truth - the only heroes are those who never doped in a sport where almost everyone doped - guys like Bassons...
philpaque 8 months ago
And most of these guys only know cycling. When their careers are over, most have very limited opportunities. It's a financial decision.
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
I do actually have some sympathy - most of these guys know nothing but cycling, it's true. However, if they properly cooperated they could get it all over and done with and a short ban and a new start. Simples.
Chuck_T 8 months ago
They probably look at Levi as an example and say hmmm best to keep denying. Not saying it's right....
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
It's fair to say that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. We all cry out for confessions, but when they do, they are then accused of having done so for ulterior motives such as getting a shorter ban or saving their own skins blah blah, so you can understand the pressure, but for me as I indicated, blaming guys for doping in the last era was akin to blaming factory chickens for getting fat, but the half truths and denials drag out the pain for both themselves and the sport even longer.
perfessor 8 months ago
"We all cry out for confessions, but when they do, they are then accused of having done so for ulterior motives such as getting a shorter ban or saving their own skins blah blah," Many of us "crying out" are aware of that. Condescension aside...the hope was to get rid of the UCI stranglehold, and convince the owners we'd watch if they ride a bit slower... I've never blamed the riders in the bunch...
Chuck_T 8 months ago
"and convince the owners we'd watch if they ride a bit slower... " Yes of course we would, we wouldn't even notice. But the problem of personal ambition will never go away.
velogeek 8 months ago
Fool me once.. he's very fortunate that visiting Ferrari that late didn't result in a lifetime ban. There are so many qualified sport coaches and doctors out there, why would you go to Ferrari for something as inconsequential as a test?
Eric Blais 8 months ago
À si Cadel?
Eric Blais 8 months ago
Ask Cadel?
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wigvelo 8 months ago
Correct, it stinks.
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
To clear up because I'm not sure if you realize the implications of your post or if it was unintentional What Eric means is that since Cadel visited Ferrari (and claims it was only for a test) you are in fact saying Evans is a doper.
LRI44 8 months ago
2005 TDF: 8th 2006 TDF: 4th 2007 TDF: 2nd 2008 TDF: 2nd Make of it what you will ...
perfessor 8 months ago
Of course Evans is a doper --haven't you been paying attention the last 10 years?
sbroaddus 8 months ago
the more he says he doesn't want to talk about it, the more he should be asked about it. if he were to miraculously show that he has some small degree of understanding about the damage that doping does to cycling, and show a bit of remorse for his dubious associations, then maybe journalists could back off a bit and give him some space. make him earn it, please!
Gary613 8 months ago
He has gone to a great team with Vino as DS......... no hope there then. Really sad that Nibali went there too.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
Why should he have to answer the same questions over and over and over again? Would you like being hounded like this? I bet you wouldn't and would react exactly like he is. I'm not standing up for these guys but why should this person have to keep answering for something that happened years ago and which he has paid for with a suspension. In his mind (and mine) he has paid and he simply wants to move on with his life. How many times can you punish a person for something so give him a break. Your hatred for these cyclists really is quite sad. You need to either find something else to do or you need to get help with this hat issue you have. Cheers...
PCM Geek 8 months ago
hatred issue not hat issue. This is a reply to sbroaddus... Have a nice day...
sbroaddus 8 months ago
he's taking no responsibility whatsoever for his past "associations", he shows no remorse for having been suspended for those associations... he's complaining about the questions and basically denying having done anything wrong. dopers are cheaters, and cheaters cheat everyone involved in cycling including the fans. some people don't agree with me on that last point, but some do. if he wants to have the luxury of pretending he's always been clean when most of us know better, then he should have to put up with some uncomfortable questions. i'm sure he appreciates your love and sympathy nonetheless.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
Are you serious? You are over flowing with hate and really need to find something less bothersome to occupy your mind. Holding hate in (about something that doesn't even effect you) really isn't healthy. Get some help dude. What did Scarponi do to cycling fans? If he did cheat or take drugs he isn't hurting anybody but himself. I'm a cycling fan and he didn't cheat me or do anything to me personally like he 'seems" to have done to you. What do you care about anybody other then yourself and how they were effected? Your venom is illogical. Scarponi isn't pretending anything about being clean or about anything else that I can see from that article. Did you even read the article? He simply said he is tired of hearing about something that is in the past and he said he isn't going to answer those questions any more. Nothing wrong with that bro, is there? I take that to mean that he wants to move on with his life and leave it in the past. My love and sympathy! LOL man, you are so out of touch with reality that it isn't even funny.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
why are you spewing words like hate and venom and telling me what i should be doing with my time? if you can calm down i might try one more time to explain to you why Scarponi is a snake... or you might just read any number of the other comments above and below that come to the same conclusion. listen to yourself: "awwww, poor poor Scarponi, please please please leave him alone already".
Dear Wiggo 8 months ago
So simple. So wrong. Anyone taking drugs leads to an arms race requiring others to take drugs to keep up. Read George Hincapie's affidavit for an example - assuming you know who that is. The hatred you continually show for commenters here is also incredibly ironic. It doesn't hurt you, or do anything to you personally, does it? No.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
well said, it's very difficult to fathom how someone can't understand the damage that dopers do to sport.
BillyG 8 months ago
B_Ugli 8 months ago
It bothers me when any pro cyclist says they don't want to talk about doping anymore be it Scarponi or Froome (recently) Attempting to control the media agenda in this way smacks of Armstrong at his peak.
ceramiccyclist 8 months ago
Except that at least Froome does continue to talk about doping. I don't suppose anyone enjoys it, but he doesn't get evasive like Scarponi and the other old guard do.
TimmyD67 8 months ago
This guy should be a case study for a public relations class. Of course he doesn't want to answer these questions, and that's exactly why any journalist worth his pencil lead should ask them. Then he gets agitated and says things that makes one question his truthfulness. For those familiar with the American tv show 60 Minutes: Can you imagine Scarponi squirming as he is interviewed by Mike Wallace ? Is he being truthful? Probably not, and the state of the sport doesn't allow him to be 100% honest. There are better ways to handle this situation however. If I were a team owner or sponsor, I would make all riders receive PR training and at least understand rule #1: Don't ever pick a fight with a reporter.
rhubroma 8 months ago
It's not as if, though, 60 Minutes is exactly the model for sound journalistic integrity. Granted Scarponi comes across as rather crass, though I think the point is that anyone has the right to respond to a reporter as he sees fit, while taking the public consequences naturally. I don't think with Kazak sponsorship and Italian nationality, he really gives a fig about what people think in the Anglo-US cycling world. Then there is the perception in his culture that reality operates on different levels, in this case mass media vs. judicial.
TimmyD67 8 months ago
Certainly Scarponi doesn't give a fig. Don't forget that one of Astana's biggest sponsors, Specialized, is an American company. If I were writing the checks at Specialized, I would be on the phone with Vino saying keep that guy away from the press. As the article states, that is what his previous team (Lampre) did.
Evan Shaw 8 months ago
These guys do NOT deserve to take places of young clean riders. "for that offense you are exiled hence", let him be gone. Enough
Oxygen Vector 8 months ago
You tell 'em Evan. You are cleaning up the sport singlehandedly. Kudos to you!