TURIN: Former Tour of Italy winner Michele Scarponi is facing a three-month ban, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Tuesday, for infringing rules on consulting prohibited persons.
Scarponi is one of many athletes alleged to have consulted with Michele Ferrari, the doctor at the centre of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
Ferrari is one of several individuals being investigated by prosecutors in Padua. He is accused of being at the centre of a sophisticated doping network involving athletes, sports agents and corrupt banking officials.
CONI confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Scarponi, who rides for the Lampre team, as well as fellow Italian professional Giovanni Visconti of the Movistar team “faced three month bans for consulting with prohibited persons”.
Scarponi was handed the 2011 Tour of Italy title following the disqualification of Spaniard Alberto Contador.
The statement added that Scarponi had already been “suspended by his team after admitting in a CONI hearing on Nov.6 that he had met with Ferrari a couple of times”.
Former Milan-San Remo champion Filippo Pozzato was also handed a similar ban earlier this year which deprived him of a place at the Olympic Games, then the world championships.
CONI added that three-time Italian champion Visconti, meanwhile, has “always denied having met with prohibited persons”.
Scarponi claims that he only met with Ferrari for two tests at the end of the 2010 season and ceased the collaboration immediately afterwards on signing for Lampre.