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Cycling-Astana team deny links to banned doctor Ferrari

Reuters | Updated: 03-02-2020 22:59 IST | Created: 03-02-2020 22:59 IST
Cycling-Astana team deny links to banned doctor Ferrari

The Astana cycling team has denied any of its riders having any dealings with banned doctor Michele Ferrari after a leaked report allegedly linked him to Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang. A Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) report, leaked to Danish media, accuses Fuglsang of training with Italian Ferrari last year, claims the Kazakhstan team strongly refute.

Fuglsang, one of the team's highest-profile riders, won the Criterium du Dauphine and Liege-Bastogne-Liege last season. The Kazakhstan-based team, managed by Alexandre Vinokourov, one of Ferrari's most high-profile former clients and who was banned for blood doping in 2007, said it does not deal with "suspicious doctors" and committed to the fight against doping.

"The team requires from all its affiliated riders that they comply all time with all obligations under anti-doping regulations, including the prohibition to be associated with banned individuals or doctors," Astana's statement said. "Riders are not authorised to consult any doctors external to the team in order to perform any activity, or to be prescribed any diet or treatment, related to their performance."

According to Danish publication Politiken, the CADF report states that Ferrari, banned for life in 2012 after failing to contest a charge from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accusing him of administering and trafficking prohibited substances, was at the 2019 Vuelta a Catalunya with Astana. Astana said it was in touch with CADF and cycling's governing body the UCI to find out more, but said the renewal of its license for 2020 means it is in full compliance with its anti-doping obligations.

"(The team) will collaborate with any inquiry that could be opened by CADF or the UCI," Astana said. "However, for the time being, no procedure has been initiated against any rider affiliated to the team. The Astana Pro Team trusts that if the CADF had any evidence of wrongdoing by any rider of the team, disciplinary proceedings would have been immediately initiated in accordance with anti-doping regulations and the World Anti-doping Code."

Ferrari, 66, on Monday denied the report, calling it a "media hoax" and said he had not been present at a bike race since 1994. "Once again I unfortunately find myself compelled to deny the latest media hoax that concerns me," he said on his website.

He the went on to make a series of statements that contradict what was written in Politiken, one of which was that he used a scooter to accompany Fuglsang on a training ride. "I have not had any relationship with athletes from Team Astana for over 10 years," he said.

"I have never been on a scooter/motorbike in my entire life, let alone motorpacing a cyclist."



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