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Banned Italian coach Michele Ferrari has kept mum...

Ferrari hits back regarding leaked report

Michele Ferrari struck back at the Padua doping investigation leaks Wednesday afternoon, assailing the information printed by La Gazzetta

Michele Ferrari struck back at the Padua doping investigation leaks Wednesday afternoon, assailing the information printed by Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The investigation revolves around Ferrari’s alleged involvement with a passel of professional athletes, which supposedly includes some non-cyclists. The report hasn’t been formally published yet, but Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport printed part of the case files relating to the Padua doping investigation Wednesday. The case was closed last week, with 550 pages of evidence making their way to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the UCI.

The information painted a picture of the doctor’s reach into a sport from which he’s currently banned. The files indicate that he worked with cyclists from Alexandre Vinokourov to Roman Kreuziger, from Michele Scarponi to Vincenzo Nibali’s trainer, Paolo Slongo.

“Up until now, I was convinced that the most appropriate location to answer charges was a courtroom, and for this I have never commented on the various media reports that for years published acts that should be secreted, with regards to the mega-investigation being carried on in Padova [Padua],” Ferrari wrote on his website. “The latest press campaign orchestrated by my old pals at La Gazzetta and La Repubblica, defined even by Marco Bonarrigo as ‘out of control journalism,’ forced me to change my behavior, and express some simple considerations.”

And with that, Ferrari rattled off a few of the names he’s supposedly worked with, along with his counter-arguments.

On Kreuziger, who is currently embroiled in a tangle over the biological passport with the UCI, Ferrari wrote:

“Roman, if you have yet to figured it all out, your problems with the Biological Passport are simply the price to pay for having worked with me in 2007, and for later declaring that ‘Ferrari had prescribed me only training programs,’ which is the absolute truth.

“At this point, just tell it all, the Truth: how in 2010 you were privately confronted about two phone calls with myself, in which you asked about, and then declined, the possibility to resume our cooperation …”

On Slongo:

“He would have, according to the investigators, ‘frequent contact with Ferrari:’ yes, of course, every morning, in front of the buffet breakfast at the hotel Parador del Teide, with the topic: ‘Is it better to have eggs with bacon or muesli with yogurt?”‘

On Scarponi:

“SCARPONI: But you’re convinced that I could have won the Giro, or not?
FERRARI: Maybe ‘if you had a bag you would have!’ A joke about his past involvement in Operacion Puerto, nothing more than that. Doping after all has always been a ‘topic of discussion’ in the world (not only in cycling): at dining tables, in the athlete’s rooms, in bar chats, without any of this having any serious meaning.

“‘I did it the first day:’ For the investigators that means a bag of blood; more likely it is something else, given the context.”

On the named athletes:

“Many of them, I simply do not know them: Marco Marcato, Dimitri Kozontchuk, Ivan Rovny, Egor Silin …”

The newspaper printed 38 names linked to the investigation in Italy’s Northeast and supposedly to Ferrari. Italy banned Ferrari from working with licensed athletes in 2002. In 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation of Lance Armstrong led to a global lifetime ban for Ferrari. The Padua investigation began in 2010 and includes incidents dating back to 2008.

The 38 cyclists named in the case files are: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Simone Boifava, Diego Caccia, Enrico Franzoi, Marco Frapporti, Omar Lombardi, Fabrizio Macchi, Marco Marcato, Andrea Masciarelli, Francesco Masciarelli, Simone Masciarelli, Daniele Pietropolli, Morris Possoni, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Proni, Michele Scarponi, Francesco Tizza, Giovanni Visconti, Ricardo Pichetta, Andrea Vaccher, Mauricio Ardila, Volodymyr Bileka, Borut Bozic, Maxim Gourov, Vladimir Gusev, Valentin Iglinskiy, Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Karpets, Aleksander Kolobnev, Dimitri Kozontchuk, Roman Kreuziger, Denis Menchov, Evgeni Petrov, Yaroslav Popovych, José Rojas, Ivan Rovny, Egor Silin, and Alexandre Vinokourov.

Gregor Brown contributed writing and reporting for this story