CONI seeks three month bans for Scarponi and Visconti due to Dr Ferrari links

Prosecutors at Italian Olympic committee say more charges may be brought once Padua investigation concludes

by Simon_MacMichael   November 20, 2012  

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

Anti-doping prosecutors at CONI, the Italian national Olympic committee, have today requested that 2011 Giro d’Italia champion Michele Scarponi and former national road champion Giovanni Visconti each be banned for three months for consulting and training with the banned doctor Michele Ferrari.

The sanction being sought is the same as that handed down to Filippo Pozzato shortly before this summer’s Olympic Games as a result of his own association with Ferrari.

Riders registered with the Italian federation or UCI-registered riders present in Italy have been banned from associating with the controversial doctor since 2002, for which they face a ban of up to six months.

In the case of Scarponi and Visconti, the CONI prosecutors have stated that they reserve the right to issue further charges following the eventual closure of the ongoing Padua investigation into doping and other offences including money laundering and tax evasion.

Magistrates conducting that inquiry have placed Ferrari at the centre of a web that they say involves fictitious image rights contracts being drawn up for riders, enabling money to be moved between Italy and Switzerland via Monaco to pay for services provided by the doctor, who this summer received a lifetime ban from the United States Anti Doping Agency for his part in the US Postal scandal.

Earlier this month, Scarponi formally admitted to CONI prosecutors that he had trained under Ferrari’s supervision prior to joining Lampre at the end of 2010, but only to have tests performed. IN October, he had issued a statement confirming those training sessions after the Gazzetta dello Sport published details of a bugged conversation between the pair.

The 33-year-old, who was awarded the 2011 Giro title following Alberto Contador’s ban earlier this year, claims that he had no further involvement with the physician. He is currently suspended by his team while the disciplinary process continues.

Should he be found to have continued his association with Ferrari after joining Lampre, Scarponi could face the prospect of being stripped of that Giro win. The rider, who has previously erved a ban due to links to Operacion Puerto, finished runner-up to Contador, with Vincenzo Nibali third.

Visconti, three times Italian champion and now riding for Movistar, has not so far admitted any links to Ferrari.

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Seems like pass the parcel with the Giro trophy.

What a mess. Let's hope it just gets sorted out so that the cheats are found out and kept out, not allowed to race while the lawyers deliberate.

Exercising my rights by taking them cycling

posted by pedalingparamedic [88 posts]
20th November 2012 - 20:15

3 Likes

That's another trophy to add to my cabinet then, I am also a multiple TdF winner in the light of the Armstrong scandal.

I am claiming all these prizes on behalf of the public by those found guilty of doping offence's because the sport seemed to be so rife with doping, only an outside can claim to be clean Wink Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9038 posts]
20th November 2012 - 22:21

3 Likes

Is there not a rather worrying trend of punishing people and finding them guilty without any trial whatsoever? This sets a rather dangerous precedent. While it might be cathartic it does little to clean the sport. Imho we should draw a line under it and move on, with what little credibility there is left. Further self flagellation does more harness than good. Thinking

Felix

Felix's picture

posted by Felix [111 posts]
20th November 2012 - 22:21

3 Likes

Felix wrote:
Is there not a rather worrying trend of punishing people and finding them guilty without any trial whatsoever?

Leaving Visconti aside, Scarponi has by his own admission trained under Ferrari's supervision. In doing so, he'll be aware that he risked a ban and it looks as though he will get one.

As for Visconti, he has the right to an arbitration hearing should he choose to have one. CONI would have to satisfy the panel that he had committed an offence - the burden of proof in this case, so far as I can see from CONI's documentation (based of course on the World Anti Doping Code) being more than a balance of probabilities but less than beyond reasonable doubt.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8495 posts]
20th November 2012 - 23:11

3 Likes