Ferrari denies visiting Astana training camp

Banned doctor Michele Ferrari has described the allegations that he attended an Astana team training camp in 2013 as ‘media bullsh*t’.

In Monday's print edition of Gazzetta dello Sport, the newspaper reported that Italian police photographed the doctor outside their hotel talking to unnamed team members in November of last year at a training camp. Ferrari denied the claims published by Gazzetta dello Sport. Any UCI licence holder, including team staff, could face a ban for working with Ferrari or failing to report he was involved in any kind of coaching activity.

“I feel obliged, much to my regret, to deny once again the latest media bullsh*t regarding my presence (‘during the night’, or including in broad daylight, if you prefer) at a Astana training camp in Montecatini in November last year,” Ferrari wrote in a blog on his website 53x12. “I have been in this town, if I don’t remember wrongly, in 1994 to taste the famous waffles.”

The team refused to comment when contacted by Cyclingnews but Ferrari calls the latest allegations untrue. He also denied living in Lugano, where many professional riders also have their residence.

“[It] is absolutely false and whoever posted it should answer to in in front of the appropriate courts. I hope that the Kazakh team will ask adequate compensation for the damages,” he continued. The article in Gazzetta dello Sport, among other extraordinary and confusing statements, claims that I have been living between Lugano and Ferrara: I have always lived in Ferrara, for 26 years I have lived at the same address, and I have never even stopped in Lugano, I do not have a study or a house in that location.”

Ferrari posted the blog on Monday evening on his personal website, which also features training programmes and tips. The blog was last updated after the Vuelta a España and the entire website has since crashed due to the volume of visitors.

The Italian doctor has been banned for life from working with cyclists and in sport by both the Italian Olympic Committee and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Current Astana rider Michele Scarponi was suspended for three months in 2012 for visiting him, as were Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti. Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov worked with Ferrari during much of his career. Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France.

"Until a few years ago I trained some of the Astana riders, including Vinokourov: it has never been a secret, I never hide anything, I also attended demonstrations in which there were many other riders, all in broad daylight,” Ferrari admitted.

Ferrari tried to direct suspicion elsewhere, noting that certain destinations had become more popular in the cycling community.

"Interestingly Teide or St. Moritz, then locations 'suspicious' by the very UCI, have now been 'cleared' and are more popular than ever among cyclists and teams above any suspicion...”

The allegations of Ferrari meeting with members of the Astana team come just days ahead of the UCI License Commission decision on whether to award Astana a WorldTour license for 2015. The announcement regarding the decision will be made before December 10.

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