Evans says he only met banned doctor once

Last updated 19:47 22/10/2012
Cadel Evans
Reuters
ALLIES: BMC Racing Team rider Cadel Evans of Australia cycles with team mates.

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Cadel Evans says the only reason he met with disgraced sports doctor Michele Ferrari was to conduct a field test about his road cycling abilities.

Evans stressed he only spoke to the Italian once and that the test in 2000 of the cyclist's road climbing ability had nothing to do with doping.

Ferrari is a key figure in the Lance Armstrong case and, like the Texan, is banned for life because of doping offences.

"I have never seen or had contact before or after this test," Evans told SBS.

"There was never any discussion of doping (with Dr Ferrari) or any sign of anything illegal.

"My only motive at the time ... 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."

Key figures in the sport, including disgraced American cyclist Tyler Hamilton and Australian anti-doping expert Anne Gripper, have hailed Evans' 2011 Tour de France win as a victory for clean cycling.

Ferrari posted on his website last year that Evans' management contacted him in 2000 about assessing the Australian's climbing abilities. It was a crucial stage of Evans' career, with the Australian on the verge of switching from mountain biking to road racing.

Ferrari used the VAM test, which is based on short climbing repetitions, to assess Evans' potential. The test results on a climb at St Moritz, Switzerland were impressive and in 2001 Evans switched full-time to the road.

Evans is yet to comment at length on the Armstrong case. His Australian manager Jason Bakker, who has worked with Evans for the last few years, strongly backed the rider's credentials.

"I have absolute and utter faith in Cadel Evans - he's a man of the highest principles that I have met, without doubt,"  Bakker said.

The Armstrong saga now has Bakker busy on two fronts - Jack Bobridge, another Australian cyclist on his books, is reeling from Rabobank's announcement on Friday that it was pulling out of cycling sponsorship. Bobridge joined the Dutch Rabobank team from Orica-GreenEDGE on a two-year deal several weeks ago.Rabobank announced the end of its sponsorship in the wake of the Armstrong case.

"When you hear news like that, you have to have some concerns," Bakker said.

"But I'm hopeful they (the team management) will honour the next 12 months, as has been reported.

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"I spoke to a pretty disillusioned young man on Friday night about it.

"We've since got a level of confidence that they will honour the contract at least for 12 months."

It is too late for Bobridge to go to another top-level team for next season.

- The Age

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