Michele Scarponi suspended by Lampre after formally admitting Ferrari meetings

2011 Giro winner reportedly faces three-month ban, but news could spell big trouble for his Lampre team

by Simon_MacMichael   November 7, 2012  

Michele Scarponi, Giro 2011 (picture Gian Mattia D'Alberto, LaPresse, RCS Sport)

Michele Scarponi has been provisionally suspended by his Lampre-ISD team as a result of his admission of having trained with the banned doctor Michele Ferrari in late 2010, prior to joining the team. The 33-year-old formally admitted two meetings with Ferrari in September 2010 when he presented himself voluntarily yesterday at the Rome office of the anti-doping prosecutor at the Italian Olympic Committee, CONI.

Scarponi’s acknowledgement last month that he had trained under Ferrari’s supervision on two occasions, followed publication in the Gazzetta dello Sport of details of a face-to-face conversation between the two in the physician’s motor home, which had been bugged by law enforcement officials working on the Padua enquiry.

Ferrari has been banned from working with cyclists within Italy since 2002, and earlier this year was also handed a worldwide ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency as part of its investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Scarponi, awarded the overall victory in the 2011 Giro d’Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of that title, could face a ban of three months, similar to that handed down earlier this year to Filippo Pozzato, who had also admitted consulting Ferrari.

Lampre says that its suspension of the rider, who hails from the Marche region, are in line with the team’s internal procedures, adding that the period in question was before he joined it.

Scarponi himself - who previously served a ban of 18 months for his role in Operacion Puerto - says that the occasions on which he trained with Ferrari fell between him finishing racing with his previous team, Androni-Giocattoli, at the end of the 2010 season and ahead of his signing a contract to join Lampre for 2011, after which his training fell under the supervision of the Mapei Centre.

Should Scarponi receive a ban, the consequences for his team could be serious. Last week, the Italian outfit, which will race next season as Lampre-Merida, had its WorldTour registration for 2013 confirmed by the UCI.

However, the governing body underlined that “any significant change in the information used to establish the evaluation of the teams whose registration has been announced above will automatically be referred to the Licence Commission with the possible consequence of the withdrawal of the UCI WorldTour licence, the withdrawal of the registration or the suspension of the team depending on the seriousness of the case.”

The sporting value of teams that forms part of the UCI’s criteria for determining WorldTour status is based in part on results of the team’s riders during the past two seasons. The calculation isn’t the same as World Ranking points, but Scarponi’s Giro victory in particular is likely to be a significant part of the team’s total.

The UCI has separately said today that it is closely monitoring developments in the Padua investigation, which is heading towards its conclusion.

While that statement was made with specific reference to the allegations regarding  Astana’s Alexandre Vinokourov’s victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2010 – the UCI says it has opened a formal investigation – it added that it “is committed to examining all issues arising from the Padua investigation in a constructive and transparent manner in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport of cycling.”

7 user comments

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bloody hell, and i thought he was a decent chap ..

posted by Karbon Kev [652 posts]
7th November 2012 - 8:58

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Sure he won't be the last. There was a few in the Vuelta that looked a bit too good to me.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
7th November 2012 - 9:41

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The blood-letting continues....I am as shocked as Karbon Kev that this clean-living, fine, upstanding member of the pro peleton has been banned. Who'd have thought?

As a punishment, maybe the UCI could get him and Vino as juiced up as possible and make them race each other. Ferrari racing?

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [519 posts]
7th November 2012 - 12:10

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A possible ban of three months for a second offence seems pretty lame to me.

posted by Sadly Biggins [261 posts]
7th November 2012 - 12:49

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It's not actually a second offence, there's no accusation of doping, just using a doctor banned in Italy. Three months sounds about right but it's pretty irrelevant as he wouldn't be racing sersiouly until March/April anyway.

posted by drheaton [3350 posts]
7th November 2012 - 13:44

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notfastenough wrote:
Sure he won't be the last. There was a few in the Vuelta that looked a bit too good to me.

The vuelta is completely bizarre - not a credible event.

It always throws up dubious winners (usually home grown) who don't appear to be able to perform at anything like the same level outside of Spain.

Can't imagine why.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:39

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drheaton wrote:
It's not actually a second offence, there's no accusation of doping, just using a doctor banned in Italy. Three months sounds about right but it's pretty irrelevant as he wouldn't be racing sersiouly until March/April anyway.

True (apart from the 3 months being 'about right'), but don't you think there SHOULD be an accusation of doping?

Working with Ferrari is synonymous with doping - nobody goes to see that Dr for any other reason. And since he's been banned from working with cyclists in Italy for a decade or more - Michele really has no excuse. Sod three months - whatever ban/punishment he gets should at least impact on his racing season...even if all they did was to postpone the 3 months to start in spring it would serve at least some purpose.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
9th November 2012 - 11:44

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