An investigation into a sports doctor who helped orchestrate an elaborate doping programme for Lance Armstrong has opened a “Pandora's box” of shady dealings worth millions, a report said Thursday.
Michele Ferrari has already been banned for life by USADA for his role in an extensive doping network that snared seven-times Tour de France champion Armstrong. But Thursday's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport said a separate probe, launched by Padua investigators in 2010, has also uncovered a world of shady business dealings and money laundering spread across several European countries.
Under the heading “The Ferrari System”, it said investigators had uncovered a system in which up to 30 million euros circulated thanks to the use of Swiss bank accounts and complicit individuals in key positions.
The report labelled it the “largest doping investigation in sports history”, dwarfing the “Operation Puerto” scandal from May 2006 when dozens of cyclists and athletes were implicated in a blood doping network run by a Madrid laboratory.
Ex-UCI chief denies support
Paris: The former cycling chief accused of protecting Lance Armstrong on Thursday distanced himself from claims that he still supported the shamed cyclist. Hein Verbruggen, who was president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) when Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times between 1999 and 2005, said a report in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf “unjustly states that despite USADA’s dossier I still insist there is no proof”, also rejecting claims that he took a bribe to cover up a positive test by Armstrong in 1999.