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ROME (AFP) — Former Tour of Italy winner Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) was on Thursday banned for three months by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) over his contacts with Michele Ferrari, the doctor at the center of the Lance
Armstrong doping scandal.
Ferrari is one of several individuals being investigated by prosecutors in Padua, Italy, and athletes are prohibited from contacting him. In Padua, investigators are pursuing charging related to his involvement in a sophisticated doping network involving athletes, sports agents and corrupt banking officials.
Reacting to the ruling Scarponi, said: “I accept the verdict of three months even if I was hoping to escape punishment. My conscience is clear.”
Scarponi’s suspension was backdated to October 1.
The 33-year-old, who was also fined 10,000 euros, has admitted visiting Ferrari twice in September 2010, but has denied working with the banned doctor on doping.
He is free to ride again from the end of this month.
In 2006, Scarponi was suspended for 18 months for his involvement in the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal. He did not draw a lifetime ban — the World Anti-Doping Agency’s sanction for a second offense — in this case because he has not registered a positive test result and his ban is of less than six months.