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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Armstrong doctor banned
Michele Ferrari
Ferrari was cleared of administering performance-enhancing drugs
Controversial sports doctor Michele Ferrari has been given a 12-month suspended jail sentence for malpractice by an Italian court.

But the Italian, who has worked with many top cyclists including Lance Armstrong, was acquitted of distributing drugs to leading riders.

Ferrari, who plans to appeal, said: "I'm innocent of this whole affair."

He was fined 900 Euros (600) and barred from acting as a doctor for 11 months and 21 days.

Ferrari's lawyer, Dario Bolognesi, emphasised that his client had been acquitted of the most serious charge against him.

I am not surprised by that verdict
Lance Armstrong

"The most serious accusation has gone and the whole trial is linked to the interpretation of standards in doping and sporting fraud, and to the comments of rider Filippo Simeoni," Bolognesi said.

Simeoni claimed during Ferrari's three-year trial that he had been given the blood booster EPO and Andriol (testosterone) by the doctor.

The cyclist said after the verdict: "From a human point of view, I regret Ferrari's sentence but it shows my statements were justified and that there is justice in this world.

He continued: "Everyone knew what was going on but no one said anything. But I spoke out and I am happy that my comments finally bore fruit, especially after the attacks from Lance Armstrong and other cyclists."

Armstrong, who worked with Ferrari on a periodic basis over a six-year period, always defended Ferrari against Simeone's accusations.

After the ruling, Armstrong released a statement, saying he and his US Postal team had suspended their professional affiliation with Dr Ferrari pending the publication of Judge Maurizio Passerini's full reasoning behind the verdicts.

But Armstrong stressed: "Dr Ferrari has been a longtime friend and trusted adviser to me and the US Postal team, during which time he never suggested, prescribed or provided me with any performance-enhancing drugs.

"I was pleased to hear that Dr Ferrari was acquitted of the charge of providing illegal drugs to athletes. I am not surprised by that verdict."




SEE ALSO
Hold-up in Ferrari trial
18 Dec 03 |  Cycling
Hamilton fails dope tests
21 Sep 04 |  Cycling


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