Astana Team leader and Tour de France overall favorite Alexandre Vinokourov revealed to L'Equipe Saturday that he collaborated with Doctor Michele Ferrari, but only about his physical preparation.
Ferrari, was convicted in 2004 for sporting fraud and abuse of his position before the conviction was overturned in the spring of 2006. The Kazakh rider explained that he began collaboration with Ferrari after he left T-Mobile at the end of 2005.
"No one directed me toward Ferrari. I was encouraged only by people like Mario Cipollini who said nothing but good things. (Lance) Armstrong also worked with him. I would not miss out on this experience," said Vinokourov.
"I did a test of effort in order to see where I was physically, and my training depended on the results. Ferrari never gave me any medicines." For all medical needs, Vino said he worked with his team physicians per the rules of the UCI.
Vinokourov said Ferrari's methods helped him. "His training plans were pointed and powerful. It is strange, but I sometimes had the impression that his methods worked like those I knew from my time in the USSR."
Under intense scrutiny lately, two Astana riders, Matthias Kessler and Eddy Mazzoleni, were implicated in different doping affairs. Italian Mazzoleni is suspended due to his involvement with Oil for Drugs while CONI investigates. German Matthias Kessler was also recently suspended for a positive testosterone doping test result of his A sample. B sample results are pending.