An investigation by Danish and Norwegian media claims that world number-two ranked cyclist Jakob Fuglsang has been investigated after he was allegedly spotted training under the supervision of Dr Michele Ferrari, banned from working with athletes for life for his role in the US Postal Service doping scandal centred around Lance Armstrong.
Danish state TV station DR and daily newspaper Politiken, as well as Norwegian newspaper VG, claim that the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) last year commissioned a “secret” report from external investigators in response to “intelligence” regarding the 34-year-old’s alleged links to the doctor.
In an article published by Politiken, including this English version, the media outlets say they have seen a copy of the 24-page report, which they say was compiled last summer, and point out that any athlete who consults with Ferrari may face a two-year ban.
According to the newspaper, the report said: “CADF intelligence indicates that Astana Pro Team cyclist Jakob Fuglsang is under Michele Ferrari’s doping program, and that teammate Alexey Lutsenko was present during at least one meeting between the two in Nice/Monaco.
“CADF has provided intelligence suggesting that Michele Ferrari continues to be involved in the doping of athletes at the Astana Pro Team and is believed to have travelled to Monaco” – where Fuglsang is resident – “and other locations to meet with the cyclists.
“Specifically, intelligence provided by CADF indicates that Michele Ferrari was present at the Vuelta a Catalunya with the Astana Pro Team in March 2019, has a base in Lugano, Switzerland, and has recently met with Fuglsang and Lutsenko in Nice and/or Monaco.”
The report is said to have recommended that the CADF undertake further investigations, including "physical surveillance of the suspect cyclists," although it is not known if any action has been taken.
It’s unclear exactly when the report was passed to the CADF, but it coincided with Fuglasang’s best season to date with victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the overalls at the Tour of Catalonia and the Criterium de Dauphiné seeing him installed as third-favourite for the Tour de France.
However, having lost time to a crash on the opening day and crosswinds later in the race, he eventually abandoned after a further crash on Stage 16.
Politiken says that “after several days of dialogue,” Fuglsang, Lutsenko and Astana had decided not to comment on a report that according to the riders and the team is “based on indications and rumours as there is no official message from the UCI or CADF.”
Ferrari did not respond to the media outlets’ attempts to contact him, and while they had contacted his son Stefano, who works with him, he did not provide a reply to 11 “detailed questions” they sent to him.
But Politiken, DR and VG say that one of the issues the report mentioned was the Padova anti-doping inquiry in Italy, in which more than 10 of the 38 people investigated have worked at some point with Astana – including the Kazakh UCI WorldTour team’s manager, Alexander Vinokourov.
They quote the report as stating: “In 2014, the Padova Investigation described the relationship between Vinokourov and Michele Ferrari as ‘very close’ and claimed Vinokourov had arranged a contract with the doctor to cover at least 10 Astana cyclists in 2010.”
Clearly, the allegations about Fuglsang working with Ferrari are much more recent, but the three media outlets claim that they have independently spoken to 12 people connected with cycling who confirmed that Fuglsang was allegedly seen training with Ferrari near Monaco, including being paced behind a scooter.
A number of leading riders live in the Cote d’Azur principality, and Politiken reports that “several” of those people that were contacted referred to “one specific top cyclist affirming having seen Fuglsang and Ferrari together, but despite repeated attempts, this person has not agreed to come forward.”
In a statement, world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said: “As of today, the UCI has not received a report from the CADF in order to initiate proceedings against the individuals and the team mentioned.
“Our Federation is following this case closely and will take the appropriate measures in the interests of cycling.”
CADF director Olivier Banuls said that the organisation, set up by the UCI to combat doping but operating independently of the governing body, “cannot discuss its activities.”
However, he added that “It is of great benefit in the fight against doping when the relevant authorities are provided with all information that may exist in relation to potential doping or doping-related activities.”
Fuglsang joined Astana from Leopard Trek in 2013 and currently lies second to Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic in the UCI Road World Rankings.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.