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Friday 07, Apr 2017

  Lance Armstrong Doping Doctor Receives Suspended Sentence

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Dr. Michele Ferrari, the infamous coach and sports doctor, has been found guilty of doping Italian biathlete Daniel Taschler by a court in Bolzano.

Ferrari, who was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for doping Lance Armstrong and other athletes from the US Postal Service team, was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 4,500 Euro. He was also asked to pay 15,000 Euro as part of a civil verdict to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Taschler was given a nine-month suspended sentence. The biathlete’s father, who was a one-time Italian Biathlon nation coach and vice-president of the International Biathlon Federation, was given a one-year sentence.

During the investigation, police used phone taps to listen in on conversations between Dr. Ferrari and Taschler. It was believed by prosecutors that the conversations included instructions on how to take EPO and details of secret telephone numbers where Dr. Ferrari could be contacted. The biathlete’s father had pushed his son to work with Dr. Ferrari as a way to boost his athletic career.

The investigation was sparked by the Padua investigation that assisted uncover financial payments from Armstrong to Dr. Ferrari and other evidence. This investigation was moved to Bolzano as the first contact between Taschler and Dr. Ferrari is alleged to have occurred near home of the biathlete.

This is the first instance when Dr. Ferrari has been found guilty of doping in a court. It is despite him having a long history of doping accusations going back to the early nineties when the big benefits of Erythropoietin (EPO) were first discovered. Previously, Dr. Ferrari was found guilty of sporting fraud and illegally working as a pharmacist in 2006 after testimony from former rider Filippo Simeoni. Simeoni said that Ferrari had advised him on how to use EPO and Testosterone. However, Ferrari was later cleared on appeal of the latter charge as the slow legal process in Italy and the statue of limitations allowed him to avoid the case reaching a final verdict. In 2000, doping became a crime in Italy and it was only then that prosecutors found it easy to persue doctors and athletes who dope.

In 2002, Ferrari was banned for life by the Italian Cycling Federation but he made an appeal to a regional court to have the ban lifted because of a rule change of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Ferrari had then claimed that he was not properly notified by the talian Olympic Committee (CONI) and every licenced athlete of his ban. Several riders were banned for just three months in the past as it was claimed by them that they did not know Ferrari had been banned in 2002.

The infamous coach and sports doctor is infamous for comparing Erythropoietin to orange juice in 1994 when he used to work with the Gewiss team that dominated racing at the time. Ferrari had told L’Equipe and other European media that EPO is not dangerous, it is the abuse that is and he had also added that it is also dangerous to drink 10 liters of orange juice.

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Friday 09, Dec 2016

  Ex-Olympic Champion Banned For Eight Years

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Italy’s 2008 Olympic 50km walk champion Alex Schwazer has been banned for a period of eight years after losing an appeal in a second doping case.

The 31-year-old helped Italy won the world 50km walk team title in May after a 45-month ban for a positive test for Erythropoietin before London Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his appeal after the retest of a sample given in January showed traces of anabolic steroid Testosterone.

In a statement, the CAS said all competitive results obtained by Alex Schwazer from and including 1 January 2016 are disqualified with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes. The CAS has imposed an 8-year period of ineligibility on him, until 7 July 2024, which almost means an end to his career.

The Olympic 50km walk champion had previously admitted to using the blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) in 2012. He admitted to taking a flight alone to Turkey the previous September with 1,500 euros to buy the blood booster at a pharmacy. Schwazer said he disguised EPO in a box of vitamins in a refrigerator at the home of his then-girlfriend Carolina Kostner in Germany, where he was staying in July in the buildup to the 2012 Games. The Italian said he learned how to use EPO through the Internet and injected it on a daily basis in a bathroom so that Kostner was not aware of what he was doing.

Kostner told anti-doping officials that Schwazer was not in home when they came to collect samples when he was with her at the home. Carolina also told the prosecutors that Schwazer slept in an altitude chamber that is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency but is illegal in Italy. The figure skater was banned for 16 months by the Italian Olympic committee for assisting Schwazer evade a test and other infractions. The Italian skater was banned from competition for 16 months and fined €1,000 for her role in the Schwazer case but the expiration date of the ban was changed to January 1, 2016. Kostner would return to competitive skating with Alexei Mishin as her coach.

Carolina is the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, the 2012 World champion, a five-time European champion (2007–2008, 2010, 2012–2013), and the 2011 Grand Prix Final champion. Known for her speed across the ice, elegance, and interpretative refinement, Carolina spins and jumps in the clockwise direction.

Schwazer returned to competition and won the 50-kilometer event at the world championships in Rome in May.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reported Schwazer and the Italian federation (FIDAL) were informed a day earlier that a May 12 retest of a January 1 doping control sample showed positive traces of steroids. The retest was conducted after the athlete qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. FIDAL confirmed that the Gazzetta report was accurate.

Born in northern Italy, Alex Schwazer was the runner-up at the 2008 IAAF World Race Walking Cup. He went on to win gold at the 50 km walk at the 2008 Summer Olympics, setting a new Olympic record with his time of 3:37:09.

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