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Banned Italian doctor Michele Ferrari confirmed today that seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is among the clients working with his son, Stefano, through a web-based training program.
In a post on his website 53×12.com, titled “Castles Made of Sand,” Ferrari addressed accusations made against him earlier this week in Italian dailies Corriere della Sera, Repubblica and La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“My son Stefano is administering a website which offers personalized training consultancy to various cyclists and triathletes,” read the statement. “Lance Armstrong is among them.”
On Wednesday, Corriere della Sera reported that a joint Swiss/Italian investigation had discovered that Armstrong made payments to “an anonymous company now in liquidation,” allegedly backed by Michele Ferrari.
Ferrari acknowledged that he worked as a consultant with the company in question, Health and Performance, based in Neufchatel, Switzerland, until the company ceased operations in 2010.
Ferrari was cleared on appeal in 2006 of criminal charges that he distributed doping products to athletes, but a 2002 Italian ban stands and he is at the center of a current investigation that reportedly involves up to 30 athletes, including Denis Menchov and Michele Scarponi.
“(Health and Performance) offered consultancy services to elite athletes, and certainly had nothing to do with doping,” said Ferrari. “I was a consultant for this company, and have always presented regular parcels and invoices, all of which result in my tax return statements.”
Ferrari claimed he was not the physician Corriere alleged was recently stopped by police leaving a Saint Moritz bank. He also denied working in a mobile camper van to evade police controls during major events.
“I have never been stopped by Swiss custom officials, much less with a ‘bag full of cash,’” said Ferrari. “My professional activity takes place mainly on the road, with the execution of tests evaluating the fitness of athletes on climbs or flat courses: hence the need to utilize a camper van as a commodity, in order to allow the athlete to take a shower and discuss comfortably about the results of the test. Surely not to ‘evade the controls.’”
Ferrari said he was aware of the investigation, which he categorized as a settling of old grudges.
“I have known for a long time to be at the center of an international investigation moved by several interests, old grudges and ‘scores to settle,’ and I knew I would be under surveillance and wire tap,” he said. “The investigators have made several ‘blitzes,’ based on imaginative interpretations of interceptions, against athletes and people related to me, which led to nothing but the discomfort and the intimidation of the interested parties.”