Renowned jerk Filippo Pozzato has just been handed a pathetic three-month ban for his association with the infamous doping doctor Michele Ferrari. He will also have to pay a fine – €10,000 of his ill-gotten gains – to CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee).
The FCI (Italian Cycling Federation) had requested a year-long ban but a backdated three months was deemed appropriate for whatever reason. The ban is backdated to June 19 – the date when Pozzato was first questioned by CONI – and runs until September 18 – a week today. Ferrari was banned for life in 2002 by the FCI, and there is a regulation in place which bars riders from working with him. However, Ferrari isn’t on the FCI’s list of banned staff for whatever reason (clerical error?), so that would explain the short sentence Pozzato got.
The investigation began after newspaper La Repubblica printed an article which included details of Pozzato’s telephone conversations (supposedly tapped by ex-teammate Guido Trenti). Parts of the recorded conversation include Pozzato admitting he was working with Ferrari – “Listen: I went to Ferrari because I asked him myself” “You don’t have a gun pointed to your head. I wanted to go to Ferrari. We’re grown-ups aren’t we?” It was also noted that he paid the doctor €40-50,000 a year for the
training advice doping regime.
It’s not the first time Pozzato has been in trouble – he was fined (along with Giuseppe Guerini) of abusing Filippo Simeoni during the 2004 Tour de France. This was after the infamous incident when one-time decent classics rider Lance Armstrong chased Simeoni down for no apparent reason. Of course the main reason was that Simeoni had testified against Lance’s blood buddy Dr Ferrari. And so the article comes full circle…
For anyone wondering whether this will count as a ‘first offence’ (i.e. a second offence means a lifetime ban), it is doubtful – Danilo Di Luca was banned for three months in 2007 due to his role in the Oil For Drugs case, and served only two years for using CERA, so logic dictates that the same applies here. Also, it is unknown whether he will be unable to earn WorldTour points for two years, but also unlikely.
Finally, the snivelling piece of shit himself seems to recognise that his ban is ridiculous. He tweeted ‘What a farce’ after the ban was announced.
The sooner him and riders like him are out of the sport, the better.
Update: Michele Scarponi and Giovanni Visconti can also plead ignorance and receive a light ban just as Pozzato did. Visconti had his case heard by CONI in July, while renowned doper Scarponi will have his heard this month.