Armstrong doctor plays down doping in book

Michele Ferrari.jpg.crop_display.jpg

The Italian sports doctor accused of playing a key role in Lance Armstrong's elaborate doping programme has played down his links to the disgraced US rider in a new book, a report said today.

Michele Ferrari remains at the centre of a doping investigation that could see him charged with conspiracy to smuggle, trade, administer and take performance-enhancing drugs, as well as tax evasion and money laundering.

However he has played down his links with Armstrong and other US cyclists in an e-book, "Cycling Pro-The Doctor Myth", published in Italy today, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

World cycling authorities on Monday stripped Armstrong of all his results since August 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins, after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he was at the heart of the biggest doping programme in sports history.

Eleven of the dozens of witnesses who testified against him were former team-mates who saw him take banned substances and were either coerced or forced into doing likewise to remain a part of his teams.

According to Gazzetta's report, in the book Ferrari "swears he has not had a professional relationship with the American (Armstrong) since October 1, 2004. And that he never seen the American riders who have accused him".

Figure skater Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion and one of Italy's most popular athletes, is also mentioned in the book. She is the girlfriend of disgraced race walker Alex Schwazer.

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