Italian team awaits outcome of Italian investigation
The Lampre-ISD team has temporarily suspended Michele Scarponi after he admitted undergoing tests with Dr. Michele Ferrari. The Italian team has stopped Scarponi's reported 700,000 Euro salary.
Scarponi surprisingly volunteered to be questioned by the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping investigators in Rome on Tuesday and formally admitted to undergoing a two-part with Dr. Ferrari in 2010 before joining Lampre-ISD in 2011.
He first admitted visiting Dr. Ferrari on October 25 after a report by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport published evidence from the Padua police investigation I to Dr. Ferrari's activities. That confession sparked his suspension by the Italian team.
"We've followed our internal medical policy and Michele has been suspended by the team doctor Carlo Guardascione. The suspension began on October 25, when Michele released his statement. We've notified the Italian Cycling Federation of the suspension," Lampre-ISD press officer Andrea Appiani told Cyclingnews.
Scarponi is hoping for a quick verdict to limit the damage to his 2013 season. The Italian anti-doping investigators will now study his case and decide if he should face a disciplinary hearing.
Scarponi was banned for 18 months for his involvement in Operacion Puerto. Although confusion remains if Dr. Ferrari was ever formally banned from working as a sports doctor in 2002, Scarponi risks a suspension of between three to six months. New Lampre teammate Filippo Pozzato was banned six months for working with Ferrari and missed most of the 2012 season. A sixth-month ban would end on April 25th, allowing Scarponi to return in time for the Giro d'Italia, anything longer and his season would be seriously compromised.
Lampre has yet to decide what sanctions the team will take if Scarponi is eventually banned. Last week the team secured a UCI WorldTour licence for 2013 and that golden ticket to cycling's highest echelon seems safe.
"Michele has always said he did the test with Dr. Ferrari before joining Lampre. It's not really anything to do with the team. However we have our internal rules and so it's right that Michele is suspended," Appiani told Cyclingnews.
"Were pretty sure it won't affect us a team, except that Michele could be out of action for some time. We'll only decide any final sanction when the whole disciplinary process has been completed."
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