Im Jahr 2001 wurde die Zusammenarbeit Lance Armstrongs mit Dr. Michele Ferrari öffentlich.
2010 erklärte Floyd Landis, 2011 Taylor Hamilton, dass sie durch Lance Armstrong von einer positiven EPO-Probe erfahren hätten, die während der Tour de Suisse 2001 angefallen war. Armstrong sei aber nicht beunruhigt gewesen, es hätte sich regeln lassen. Möglicherweise mittels zweier Spenden des Fahrers an die UCI, wie 2010 näher bekannt wurde.
SZ, 27.5.2010, cn, 25.5.2010
Im April 2001 gewährte Lance Armstrong auf eigene Anregung hin in Anwesenheit von Bill Stapleton David Walsh ein Interview. 2000 waren in Frankreich während der Tour de France Müllsacke gefunden worden, die Arzt Del Moral und Giropraktiker Jeff Spencer fernab des Teamhotels illegal entsorgten. Der Müll wurde analysiert. Die Säcke enthielten u.a. 160 gebrauchte Spritzen, blutgetränkte Kompressen und Hinweise auf Actovegin. Die französische Justiz eröffnete ein Verfahren, das 2000 ohne Ergebnis geschlossen wurde. Das Image des U.S. Postal Teams war jedoch angekratzt. Walsh führte dieses Interviewangebot mit der Maßgabe, er könne alle Fragen stellen, die er wolle, auf die präkäre Situation des Teams zurück.
Walsh nutzte die Gelegenheit und frug nach Verbindungen zu Dr. Michele Ferrari. Armstrong kam mit seinen Antworten ins Schwimmen.
Zitate aus dem Interview, erschienen in Walsh Buch From Lance to Landis, S. 171ff:
"Cycling is a sport with a doping subculture. When did you
start to become aware of that?
lf you're asking when was the first day that I realized that perhaps this exists in our sport, I don't know the answer because Motorola was white as snow and I was there all the way through '96. Riders like Steve Bauer and Andy Hampsten, these guys were very admirable professional, clean riders.
What about the 1994 Flèche Wallonne race, when the Gewiss riders finished first, second, and third? Not everyone thought that was normal. How did you feel about it?
... Once a team starts winning - you see it every year, there's always a team that comes out and they get a couple of wins early on and then they get a couple of big wins and the next thing you know, they're on top of the world, and I believe in that momentum.
Are you saying on the morning after that race, you were 100 percent a believer they had done it clean?
The next morning there was obviously articles and people said certain things. If I have to look at that guy and say, "They're cheaters, he's a cheater, the team's a cheater," how could I get up every day and go do my job?
Their doctor, Michele Ferrari, made his famous statement on the evening of that race about r-EPO being no more dangerous than orange juice. Do you remember your reaction to that?
(Long pause) Ahmm, no.
... Had you heen aware of r-EPO?
Here we're talking seven years ago. Had I heard of it? Probably.
Ferrari was, in effect, saying he gave it to his guys?
I didn't read the article, I don't know. *
It is obvious to everybody r-EPO use hecame a big thing in cycling in '95 and '96. How conscious were you guys in Motorola that r-EPO had become a factor in race results?
We didn't think about it. It wasn't an issue for us. It wasn't an option. Jim Ochowicz ran the program that he set out to run, a clean program. Max Testa, the doctor, set out to run a clean program, and that wasn't part of our medical program.
Did you know that Kevin [Livingston, fellow D.S. Postal Service rider] was linked with the [police] investigation into Michele Ferrari in Italy?
Did you discuss it with him?
I would have thought it natural you would say, "Kevin, what's this about? Did you go to Ferrari? Is this being made up, did he put your name in his files when you never visited?" You never discussed it, ever?
Would it shock you to realize that there are Ferrari files on Kevin that indicate he was using r-EPG?
I wouldn't believe that.
Even if you saw the files?
I wouldn't belive that.
There are files I have seen where Kevin's hematocrit is listed for July 1998 at 49.7. The previous December it is listed at 41.2. Must medical people say a near nine-point difference in a hematocrit level in a six-month period is highly unusual.
I haven't seen the files. I don't know.
Did you ever visit Michele Ferrari?
I did know Michele Ferrari.
How did you get to know him?
In cycling when you go to races, you see people. There's trainers, doctors, I know every team's doctor. It's a small community.
Did you ever visit him?
Have I been tested by him, gone and been there and consulted on certain things? Perhaps.
(Nods in affirmative.)
*1994 begann unter den Fahrern des Teams Motorola die Diskussion um EPO, da die Erfolge nicht eintrafen und Jim Ochowicz Druck machte, auch wenn dieser und Arzt Max Testa vom Doping mit EPO nichts wissen wollten. Lance Armstrong selbst wollte nicht mehr von Jungs geschlagen werden, die er schlechter als sich selbst einschätzte. Deshalb beschloss Armstrong mit Ferrari zusammen zu arbeiten (Zeugenaussage in L.A. Confidentiel, S. 85).
Greg LeMond verdankt seinem ehemaligen Mechaniker Julien DeVriese, später von Armstrong, erste Zweifel an der Sauberkeit seines Helden:
"The previous month [Juni 2000] he had been at a training camp in the Pyrenees with Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton and Kevin Livingston, a rendezvous also attended by Dr. Michele Ferrari. De Vriese was not impressed by what he saw at the camp. According to LeMond, DeVriese said the Postal team was using a lot of drugs. DeVriese would later deny he said this."
Jorge Jasson: "The tone of the conversation was that Julien and his son were saying how the atmosphere on the [U.S. Postal Service] team was so unfriendly now, how everything was being done behind closed doors, how nobody enjoyed being around Armstrong, and how the whole thing revolved around keeping doping secret and keeping secret what he was doing. That I remember very well."
(D. Walsh, From Lance to Landis, S. 182)
... Chris Carmichael. "It's about putting together the best people with the best athlete, searching high and low."
Armstrong's agent and lawyer Bill Stapleton describes Ferrari as a brilliant scientist with an awful public reputation who has made very, very irresponsible comments. With complete confidence, he concludes: "I'm not worried, because he [Armstrong] will never, ever test positive."
Im Juli 2001 wurde bekannt, dass Armstrong mit Dr. Michele Ferrari zusammenarbeitete. Diese Meldung verursachte großen Wirbel. Neben vielen anderen wurde auch Greg Lemond gefragt, was er davon halte. Der Bewunderer Armstrong hielt nicht mit seiner Enttäuschung hinter den Berg. Die Meldung passte zu etlichen Informationen, die er zuvor von Insidern erhalten hatte und die den Verdacht stärkten, dass innerhalb des Armstrong-Teams Doping nicht unbekannt war.
Auf die Frage, ob er daran glaube, dass Armstrong sauber sei, antwortete er "wenn ja, das handele es sich um das größte Comeback in der Geschichte des Sports, wenn nicht, um den größten Betrug." Eine Antwort, die in der Presse häufig zitiert wurde.
Zwei Wochen später erhielt LeMond während einer Autofahrt einen Anruf Armstrongs, der wissen wollte, ob die zitierten Äußerungen der Wahrheit entsprächen. Greg gab dies zu, denn er hätte ein Problem mit Ferrari und sei enttäuscht darüber, dass beide in Verbindung stünden. Armstrong drohte daraufhin LeMond mit Dopinganschuldigungen. Er könne zehn Personen benennen, die von LeMonds EPO-Konsum wüssten, zudem sei er in Sandro Donatis Dopingbericht, der Mitte der 1990er Jahre erschienen war, in Verbindung mit dem belgischen Arzt Yvan Van Mol gebracht worden.
Greg LeMond erhielt weitere Anrufe mit Bitten und Drohungen zu schweigen.
Auch John Burke, der Boss der Fahrradfirma Trek, Ausrüster des USPostal Teams, meldete sich, und setzte Greg, der Trekräder vertrieb, unter Druck, wobei laut LeMond, Burke wiederum von Armstrong bearbeitet worden war. Zwischen den beiden kam es einem Vergleich, Greg äußerte sich nicht mehr zu der Angelegenheit. Doch für Kathy, seine Frau galt diese Abmachung nicht. Der Inhalt des Gesprächs, das sie mithören konnte, war von ihr aufgeschrieben worden. Die Versionen der LeMonds und Armstrongs unterschieden sich allerdings. Letzterer stritt die Drohung ab und behauptete LeMond sei betrunken gewesen, was dieser wiederum heftig bestritt.
David Walsh veröffentlichte die Niederschrift Kathys in L.A. Confidentiel und in From Lance to Landis.
Zitate aus From Lance to Landis, S. 187f.
... LA: Greg, I thought we were friends.
GLM: I thought we were friends.
LA: Why did you say what you said?
GLM: About Ferrari? Well, I have a problem with Ferrari. I'm disappointed you are seeing someone like Ferrari. I have a personal issue with Ferrari and doctors like him. I feel my career was cut short, I saw a teammate die. I saw the devastation of innocent riders losing their careers. I don't like what has become of our sport.
LA: Oh come on, now, you're telling me you never done EPO?
GLM: Why would you say I did EPO?
LA: Come on, everyone's done EPO.
GLM: Why do you think I did it?
LA: Well, your comeback in '89 was so spectacular. Mine [his victory in the 1888 Tour de France] was miracle, yours was a miracle. You couldn't have been as strong as you were in '89 without EPO.
GLM: Listen Lance, before EPO was ever in cycling, I won the Tour de France. First time I was in the Tour, I was third [in 1984]; second time I should have won but was held back by my team [second in 1985, behind teammate Bernard Hinault]. Third time I won it . It is not because of EPO that I have won the Tour - my haematocrit was never more than forty-five - but because I had a V02 max of ninrty-five. Yours was eighty-two. Tell me one person who said I did EPO.
LA: Everyone knows it.
GLM: Are you threatening me?
LA: If you want to throw stones, I will throw stones.
GLM: So you are threatening me? Listen Lance, I know a lot about physiology; no amount of training can transform an athlete with a VO2 max of eighty-two into one with a VO2 Max of ninety-five and you have ridden faster than I did.
LA: I could find at least ten people who will say you did EPO. Ten people who would come forward.
GLM: That's impossible. I know I never did that. Nobody can say I have. If I had taken EPO, my hematocrit value would have exceeded forty-five. It never did. I could produce all my blood parameters to prove my hematocrit level never rose above forty-five. And if I have this accusation leveled against me, I will know it came from you.
LA: You shouldn't have said what you did. It wasn't right.
GLM: I try to avoid speaking to journalists. David Walsh called me. He knew about your relations with Ferrari. What should I have said? No comment? I'am not that sort of person. Thean a journalist from Sports Illustrated called me. I've spoken to two journalists in total. ...
CNNSI, 2.8.2001: Armstrong surprised, upset by LeMond's comments
Statement von Lance Armstrong, U.S. Postal Pro Cycling – 8. Juli 2001
For many years now, dating back to 1990, Chris Carmichael has been my coach and most important technical and training advisor. Others who work with Chris include Johan Bruyneel, my director sportif, John Cobb, in charge of aerodynamics, Dr. Luis del Moral, our team physician and Jeff Spencer my chiropractor.
Also included are my close friends, former Belgian champion Eddy Merckx and former Motorola team director Jim Ochowitz.
Chris and I met Michele Ferrari during a training camp in San Diego, California, in 1995. His primary role has always been limited. Since Chris cannot be in Europe on an ongoing basis, Michele does my physiological testing and provides Chris with that data on a regular basis. Chris has grown to trust Michele’s opinion regarding my testing and my form on the bike. And lately, we have been specifically working on a run at the hour record. I do not know exactly when I will do that, only that I will in the near future.
He has also consulted with Chris and me on dieting, altitude preparation, hypoxic training and the use of altitude tents, which are all natural methods of improvements.
In the past, I have never denied my relationship with Michele Ferrari. On the other hand, I have never gone out of my way to publicize it. The reason for that is that he has had a questionable public reputation due to the irresponsible comments he made in 1994 regarding EPO.
I want to make it clear that I do not associate myself with those remarks or, for that matter, with anyone who utilizes unethical sporting procedures. However, in my personal experience I have never had occasion to question the ethics or standard of care of Michele. Specifically, he has never discussed EPO with me and I have never used it.
I have always been very clear on the necessity of cycling to be a clean sport and I have firmly stated that anyone, including me, who tests positive for banned substances should be severely punished.
As everyone knows, I am one of the very few riders who have no prescriptions in my health book. I have been repeatedly tested during my career including during the entire 1999 and 2000 Tours de France and most recently during the Tour de Suisse ten days ago.
I ask that I be allowed to address these issues publicly at a later date.