Bolzano

Sport: Conconi probed in Schwazer case

Controversial sports doctor 'gave disgraced walker advice'

Sport: Conconi probed in Schwazer case

Bolzano, July 8 - Controversial sports doctor Francesco Conconi, mentor of US cycling's fallen idol Lance Armstrong's doping expert Michele Ferrari, has been placed under investigation for alleged links to disgraced Italian race walker Alex Schwazer. Italian police have seized computer data and paper documents showing "contacts" between Schwazer and Conconi, who has for 30 years been suspected of doping cyclists, skiers and other endurance athletes but never convicted. Police said Monday the evidence showed Schwazer had asked Conconi for "advice". Ferrari, Conconi's best-known disciple, received a life ban from US cycling authorities when they banned seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong for life last year. Former Olympic walk champion Schwazer, 28, got a three-and-half-year sporting ban in April for testing positive for blood-booster EPO ahead of the 2013 London Olympics. Conconi, who was found "morally guilty" of doping in 2004 but not convicted because the offences took place too long ago, has been rumoured to have introduced EPO into sport, but nothing has ever been proven and he has kept a prestigious position at a well-known centre for biomedical research applied to sport in the northern Italian city of Ferrara. In September Schwazer was placed under a criminal investigation for the positive drugs test that led to him missing last year's Games. Test results released days before he was due to defend the 50km walk title he won in Beijing in 2008 showed traces of EPO in his urine. Doping is a criminal offence in Italy. So although the sports ban means he could theoretically return to competition on January 30, 2016, he might receive a judicial sentence ruling him out for good.

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