PARIS Last year's Giro d'Italia winner Michele Scarponi has been suspended by his Lampre team for visiting banned sports doctor Michele Ferrari, the Italian outfit said on Tuesday.
"In relation to events in a period when Scarponi was not at Lampre and awaiting further developments, the team doctor has suspended the rider for violation of the internal code of the team," team spokesman Andrea Appiani told Reuters in a text message.
"We await the decisions of the competent authorities and underline that all the issues refer to a period when Scarponi did not ride for Lampre."
Scarponi admitted for the first time having visited Ferrari on October 25 after the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport published a report containing extracts from a Padua investigation into the doctor.
Ferrari, who has denied any wrongdoing, was banned for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which said he had masterminded Lance Armstrong's doping program during the years the American dominated the Tour de France.
Armstrong was also banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour titles.
Scarponi has already served an 18-month ban for his implication in the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal.
Fellow-Italian Filippo Pozzato was handed a three-month ban for working with Ferrari.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John Mehaffey)