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Franzoi facing three-month ban for links to Dr. Ferrari

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Italy's Enrico Franzoi (BKCP - Powerplus)

Italy's Enrico Franzoi (BKCP - Powerplus) (Image credit:
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Italy's Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas)

Italy's Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004

Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004 (Image credit: AFP)

The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping investigators have requested a three-month ban for cyclo-cross and road rider Enrico Franzoi for his links to Dr. Michele Ferrari.

Franzoi is the first rider to face a disciplinary hearing based on evidence from the Padova and Bolzano police investigations into the infamous sports doctor who worked with Lance Armstrong for much of the Texan's career.

Franzoi has been summoned for a hearing in front of the Italian anti-doping tribunal on February 27. He is one of 38 riders who were reported to have worked with Dr. Ferrari in recent years, with their names and details of Dr. Ferrari activities discovered thanks to phone taps and the placing of a bug in the camper van he used to test riders in different locations.

Filippo Pozzato, Giovanni Visconti and Michele Scarponi have already served short bans for their links to Dr. Ferrari. They avoided longer bans because there was no proof that they took any banned substances and it was unclear if the Italian Cycling Federation and Italian Olympic Committee had ever publicised that Dr. Ferrari was banned from working in sport.

Italian media have suggested that up to 15 athletes could face some kind of disciplinary action for their links to Dr. Ferrari.

The Italian Olympic Committee has finally began to act after receiving the 551-page dossier produced by police and investigators in Padova.

The public prosecutor has yet to complete his investigation and make any charges but a recent report in the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper suggested that 25 people could face trial for doping and financial fraud charges. These include Dr. Ferrari, his son Stefano, Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov and many of the riders named in the dossier.

Dr. Ferrari has always denied doping despite overwhelming evidence being revealed during the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team.