FORMER TOUR DE FRANCE Cadel Evans said there was no discussion about doping in his meeting with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari.
The 2011 Tour de France winner met with Ferrari, the doctor at the centre of drug allegations levelled at the infamous US Postal Team by the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA), back in 2000 when Evans was considering a switch from mountain biking to road cycling.
Evans’ meeting with Ferrari was detailed on the doctor’s website 53X12.com in July last year, over a year before USADA levelled their most recent accusations against Armstrong and the US Postal team.
On his website, Ferrari wrote: “In the summer of 2000, I got a phone call from Tony Rominger (Evans’ manager at the time, who said): ‘there is this twice MTB World champion, Cadel Evans, who would like to pass onto road racing.
“Since he’s earning already quite well from his MTB activity, I’d like to know whether he has the skills to consider dedicating to road cycling full time and risk such a jump’.
“It is always difficult and chancy to answer similar questions, but I eventually agreed on testing him on the road in St Moritz (in Switzerland).”
In an email to Australian TV station SBS’ Cycling Central, Evans confirmed that he met with Ferrari, the doctor alleged to have supplied a good proportion of the prohibited performance enhancers used by the US Postal Team as they helped Armstrong to a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
But Evans, in the first comments he has made in relation to the overall case against Armstrong, denied there was anything untoward about the meeting with Ferrari.
“I took the test as Mr Ferrari described on his website,” Evans wrote in the email. ”There was never any discussion of doping or any sign of anything illegal. My only motive at the time – 2001 as I recall – was to understand my capabilities as a road rider.
“At that time, Mr Ferrari’s opinion was very highly regarded by teams and team managers, and therefore helpful for me to gain opportunities with road teams.”
Ferrari has since been banned from the sport for life after not contesting USADA charges against him that related to numerous anti-doping violations, including possession, trafficking, administration and assisting doping. The USADA case against Armstrong has already created two high-profile Australian casualties in Matt White, the Cycling Australia men’s road team director who admitted to doping when part of the US Postal team, and CA vice-president Stephen Hodge, who stood down last Friday after revealing he had also taken performance enhancers.