Filippo Pozzato’s lawyer has denied that the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia rider is under investigation as part of the Padova-based inquiry into the activities of Dr. Michele Ferrari, following a report published in Italy this weekend.
On Saturday, La Repubblica printed an article which suggested that Pozzato was a client of the controversial Ferrari, who this week has been formally charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), alongside Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.
The article quotes extracts from a telephone conversation intercepted in the summer of 2009, in which Pozzato allegedly speaks of working with Ferrari, something which the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) outlawed in 2002. According to La Repubblica, Pozzato can be heard speaking in Vicenza dialect in the recording, saying “Listen: I went to Ferrari because I asked him myself.”
Pozzato also allegedly discusses the Emanuele Sella doping case in the recording, and expresses his distaste at the manner in which the rider had negotiated a reduction on his ban after collaborating with the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) panel.
“If you go to see him in his own house, then you’re responsible,” Pozzato is alleged to have said. “You don’t have a gun pointed to your head. I wanted to go to Ferrari. We’re grown-ups aren’t we?”
La Repubblica’s report notes that the recorded conversation also reveals that it cost €40,000-50,000 per year to be “followed” by Ferrari. The doctor has been banned for life by the FCI, and in February 2002, the body issued a decree barring riders from consulting with Ferrari, a regulation which is still in place.
Responding to the article on Sunday, Pozzato’s lawyer Pierfilippo Capello told Tuttobici and Gazzetta dello Sport that his client was not under investigation.
“We’ve checked several times with magistrates in Padova and in other places where there are ongoing anti-doping inquiries, and my client is not listed in any register of those under investigation,” Capello said. “From a criminal point of view, at the moment there is no investigation involving Pozzato and the same can be said from the sporting point of view: we have no news of an investigation from either CONI or the Italian Cycling Federation.”
Pozzato is currently in action at the Tour de Slovenie, as he continues his build-up to the London 2012 Olympics, although his participation could be at risk should the FCI or CONI opt to open an investigation into the allegations.