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Armstrong paid team doctor $465,000 in 2006 - reports

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is alleged to have paid co-defendant Michele Ferrari two years after he claims their relationship ended.

Image: Bas Czerwinski/AP/Press Association Images

AN ITALIAN PROSSECUTOR has reportedly uncovered a $465,000 payment made to Italian doctor Michele Ferrari by Lance Armstrong in 2006, Shane Stokes of VeloNews reports.

News of the payment was originally reported by La Gazetta dello Sport, an Italian publication, VeloNews says.

The payment has not been confirmed.

The doctor, Michele Ferrari, began working with Lance Armstrong prior to his being diagnosed with cancer in 1996. The relationship continued after Armstrong returned to cycling in 1998. Ferrari was later sanctioned by Italian sports authorities, leading many to question why Armstrong was still working with him.

The Italian prosecutor has reportedly uncovered payments totaling 30 million euros to Ferrari from more than 90 cyclists over the years. In recent years, Ferrari has reportedly attempted to conceal his involvement with these cyclists by using foreign cell-phones, a mobile camper-van, and intermediaries.

Last year, Lance Armstrong’s spokesperson admitted that Armstrong has maintained contact with Ferrari over the years, but also said that the professional relationship between the two ended in 2004.

The payment that the Italian authorities have reportedly uncovered was made in 2006.

This payment followed Lance Armstrong’s winning a court case with one of his sponsors which awarded him $7.5 million in bonus, penalties, and interest. The speculation is that a portion of this bonus was owed to Ferrari and that the payment was related to that.

(If that’s true, it is still possible that the professional relationship between Dr. Ferrari and Armstrong ended in 2004, as the spokesman said. The payment could merely have followed later. This makes sense given that Armstrong retired from racing in 2005.)

Lance Armstrong has never explained in detail what services or treatment Dr. Ferrari gave him, beyond vague references to a training regimen. Several other cyclists associated with Ferrari, such as Alexandre Vinokourov, have been tossed out of races for doping violations. Vinokourov, for example, called Ferrrari his “coach” prior to the 2007 Tour de France and was subsequently thrown out of the race for an illegal blood transfusion, VeloNews also reports.

This news is the latest in the Lance Armstrong saga, which returned to the headlines last week when the US Anti-Doping Agency filed formal doping charges against Armstrong. It has also just been revealed that several of Armstrong’s former teammates mysteriously withdrew their names from consideration for the US Olympic team, a decision that may be linked to the doping investigation.

- Henry Blodget

Read more on this story at Business Insider

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