Italian banned until Jan 7, fined 10,000 Euro
Former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) has been banned for three months and fined 10,000 Euro for working with Dr. Michele Ferrari.
The Anti-doping Tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced the ban after a brief hearing on Friday morning in Rome. Visconti's ban runs from October 8 to January 7, meaning he will not miss a race. He has also been fined 10,000 Euro and ordered to pay 1,000 Euro for the costs of the disciplinary procedure.
Fellow Italian Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) was given a similar ban on December 12 for also working with Dr. Ferrari, while Filippo Pozzato missed the London Olympic Games and was banned for three months during the summer for confessing to working with Dr. Ferrari.
Visconti admitted working with Dr. Ferrari but insisted he had done nothing wrong, claiming he had only talked about training advice.
"I would like here to reiterate that we are talking about conversations with a trainer and emphasising that the only evidence of such contacts were my spontaneous declarations, the result of good faith and conviction of having done nothing wrong," wrote Visconti on his giovannivisconti.it when the investigators first recommended a three month ban.
Dr. Ferrari was banned for life from working as a sports doctor and coach in Italy but Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping investigators have struggled to secure bans for athletes after confusion about if Dr. Ferrari's ban was ever formalized and publicily announced.
Dr. Ferrari has always denied doping riders but was heavily implicated in the USADA report that revealed the details of the US Postal Service team doping programme and lead to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France victories.
Visconti was named as a client of Dr. Ferrari when his house was searched by police from Padua, as part of the US investigation.
More revelations about Dr. Ferrari's client list are expected to emerge when the Padua police formally complete their investigation and recommend sentences.
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