Danish Jakob Fuglsang – one of the world’s best cyclists – has been investigated for possible links with one of the world’s most notorious doping doctor, according to a secret report that Danish Politiken daily, Danish state television DR and Norwegian daily VG have read.
The 24 pages long report was commissioned by Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), international cycling’s independent watchdog and written by a well-reputed external company. It is based on »intelligence« suggesting that the Danish sport star is linked to the banned physician Michele Ferrari.
»CADF intelligence indicates that Astana Pro Team cyclist Jakob FUGLSANG is under Michele FERRARI’s doping program, and that teammate Alexey LUTSENKO was present during at least one meeting between the two in Nice/Monaco«, the report says.
The Italian doctor is banned for life from working with any kind of sport following the unveiling in 2012 that he was the architect behind disgraced Tour de France king Lance Armstrong’s extensive doping programme including both EPO, testosterone and illegal blood transfusions. As a result, it is now illegal to use Ferrari as a consultant. Any breach of this ban may entail a two year ban.
»CADF has provided intelligence suggesting that Michele FERRARI continues to be involved in the doping of athletes at the Astana Pro Team and is believed to have travelled to Monaco and other locations to meet with the cyclists«, the report says concerning the suspicion against Fuglsang who is in fact resident in Monaco.
»Specifically, intelligence provided by CADF indicates that Michele FERRARI was present at the Vuelta a Catalunya with the Astana Pro Team in March 2019, has a base in Lugano, Switzerland, and has recently met with FUGLSANG and LUTSENKO in Nice and/or Monaco«, the report says.
In the battle against doping »intelligence« could come from whistleblowers or people who have witnessed something critical. This way of fighting medical misconduct is becoming increasingly common.
However, it is unclear how Jakob Fuglsang reacts to content of the report which he and Astana have been confronted with. After several days of dialogue the Danish star, Alexey Lutsenko and the Astana team in general have decided that they »don’t want to comment on a report based on indications and rumors as there is no official message from the UCI or CADF«.
Michele Ferrari has not responded to phone calls and text messages but Politiken, DR and VG have been in contact with his son, Stefano, who has worked as his fathers’ partner. However, he has not answered 11 detailed questions sent to him. Throughout his career, the Italian doctor has denied being responsible for any kind of doping although he was found guilty of it.
Links between Astana and Ferrari
Independently from the report, Politiken, DR and VG have talked to 12 persons related to the sport and they claim that Jakob Fuglsang allegedly has been working with Michele Ferrari. For example, the Danish cyclist supposedly was seen »interval training behind a scooter« with the banned Italian doctor near Monaco.
Several of these refer namely to one specific top cyclist who allegedly has seen Fuglsang and Ferrari together, but despite repeated attempts, this person has not agreed to come forward.
The Italian doctor is one of the most notorious persons in international sports. As early as the 1980s and the 1990s, Michele Ferrari made a name for himself in cycling as a consultant bringing cyclists to higher levels of performance. Officially, Ferrari was testing the cyclists and making tailored training regimes for them. Later, however, more cases, particularly the one involving Lance Armstrong, have shown how the Italian organized medical short cuts to success.
To all questions about the report and the investigation into Fuglsang the director of Anti Doping Denmark, Michael Ask, consequently answers »no comments«. But in general he calls the possibility of Michele Ferrari still being active »highly worrying«.
»If Ferrari really is active it is a severe breach of the regulations. Also for the people who in that potential case have helped him back into the environment and work with him. They ought to stay far away from him«, Michael Ask says.
Italian police have investigated Michele Ferrari several times, for instance in the so-called Padua Investigation. Politiken, DR and VG have seen the names of the 38 riders involved in the case, and more than 10 of them have been employed by the Kazakh team. One person in particular leaps to the eye: Alexander Vinokourov, a former top cyclist who has been convicted of doping and the present head of Astana.
»In 2014, the Padova Investigation described the relationship between VINOKOUROV and Michele FERRARI as ‘very close’ and claimed VINOKOUROV had arranged a contract with the doctor to cover at least ten Astana cyclists in 2010«, the recent report about Ferrari and Fuglsang recaps.
Vinokourov has admitted having been a client of Michele Ferrari’s, but he insisted the working relationship was only about training – not doping – and that it ended in 2007. The team manager has firmly denied that any special connection between Astana and Ferrari should exist and the Italian doctor was not charged in the Padova Investigation.
The best season ever
Jakob Fuglsang, age 34, has been employed by Astana since 2013, and in 2019 he had his best season ever, delivering several excellent results, including a win in one of the world’s biggest single-day races, the classic Liége-Bastogne-Liége. Currently he is ranked as number three in world.
The task of the secret report was to »identify potential and known links« between Ferrari, his son, Stefano, and Astana, particularly Jakob Fuglsang, for example through social media, but: