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Dr Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004.
USADA details key role Ferrari played in Tour success
The US Anti-Doping Agency's reasoned decision gives evidence of doping by Lance Armstrong dating from his first Grand Tour after his return from cancer - the 1998 Vuelta a Espana - through to his seven Tour de France wins and even his more recent comeback years.
The timeline reveals that a brush with near death did not deter Armstrong from doping with dangerous and illegal substances, but that he paid millions to rebuild himself into a rider who was, like the fictional television hero, The Six Million Dollar Man, "better, faster, stronger".
USADA reveals an intimate role played by Dr. Michele Ferrari in masterminding Armstrong's Tour de France success, a relationship that ran from before his diagnosis with cancer in 1996 through to his comeback in 2009. USADA was able to trace more than a million dollars in payments to the Italian doctor, with payments ranging from 1996 to 2006.
"The evidence in this case includes banking and accounting records from a Swiss company controlled by Dr. Ferrari reflecting more than one million dollars in payments by Mr. Armstrong, extensive email communications between Dr. Ferrari and his son and Mr. Armstrong during a time period in which Mr. Armstrong claimed to not have a professional relationship with Dr. Ferrari," USADA revealed.
The evidence is counter to statements from Armstrong, in which he claims to have severed his professional relationship with Ferrari in 2004.
The report includes numerous eyewitness accounts from Armstrong's teammates which were detailed in affidavits: [Tyler] Hamilton confirmed that, "Dr. Ferrari injected [him] with EPO on a number of occasions." Hamilton's first injection of EPO from Dr. Ferrari came in Dr. Ferrari's camper while training at Sestriéres in 1999).
"Tyler Hamilton's testimony that Dr. Ferrari's training plan for him included EPO is perfectly consistent with the testimony of each of the other five U.S. Postal Service riders who have testified to working with Dr. Ferrari. In addition, all three of the Italian cyclists who worked with Dr. Ferrari, and whose witness statements are part of the evidence in this case, also confirm Dr. Ferrari's program involves EPO use," USADA wrote. Those riders include Leonardo Bertagnolli and Filippo Simeoni.
USADA's report states that Ferrari was closely involved with Armstrong's team, advising key domestiques such as Hamilton, Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Floyd Landis, Tom Danielson and Kevin Livingston -who was not listed as a witness in this case.
"Multiple handwritten training plans for Kevin Livingston were found in Dr. Ferrari’s files during a search of his residence in the first investigation of Dr. Ferrari. The cyclists who have worked with Dr. Ferrari describe handwritten training plans prepared by Dr. Ferrari, and have testified that he placed notations on their plans to indicate the dates on which they were supposed to use performance enhancing drugs. Multiple asterisks are an evident feature on all of the training plans in the file for Kevin Livingston," USADA states.
George Hincapie, who has admitted to doping in a statement released ahead of USADA's document, said that Lance Armstrong introduced him at his behest in 2000. He was told the annual fee for Ferrari's services was $15,000.
"Dr. Ferrari told me that the team doctors would assist me with the blood doping program and they did," Hincapie testified. He worked with Ferrari from 2000 through 2006 while helping Armstrong win his record number of Tours de France, including a stage win on the Pla d'Adet in 2005.
Ferrari was banned for life by USADA in July after refusing to take his case to arbitration.
Transactions between Armstrong and Ferrari:
2/21/1996: $14,089.65 CREDITO SWIFT NATIONSBANK NA 1, NATIONS HEADQUA O-LANCE ARMSTRONG AC- XXXXXXX RE F. XXXXXXXX USD 13615 – LESS CO USD 14'089.65 (bank record)
5/9/1996: $28,582.33 CREDITO SWIFT LANCE ARMSTRONG AC/XXXXXXX ./.SPESEN/SKA US 7.32 USD 28'582.33 (bank record)
7/24/1996: $42,082.33 CREDITO SWIFT LANCE ARMSTRONG . LINDA WALLING/RFB/XXXXXXXX/ CABLE ADV AT NOC USD 42'082.33 (bank record)
5/6/2002: $75,000.00 Armstrong L. – US$ 75’000. - (Journal entry)
8/29/2002: $75,000.00 Armstrong L. – US$ 75’000. - (Journal entry)
6/5/2003: $100,000.00 Lance Armstrong US$ 100’000. - (Journal entry)
9/10/2003: $75,000.00 Lance Armstrong US$ 75’000. - (Journal entry)
10/6/2003: $300,000.00 Lance Armstrong US$ 300’000. - (Journal entry)
7/2/2004: $110,000.00 AVIS DE CREDIT DONNEUR D’ORDRE: /LANCE ARMSTRONG XXXXXXXXX AUSTIN TEXAS 78703 USD 110,000.00 (bank record)
3/29/2005: $100,000.00 Avviso di accredito D’ORDINE DI LANCE ARMSTRONG USD 100 000.00 (bank record)
12/31/2006: $110,000.00 Lance Armstrong US$ 110’000. - (Journal entry)