Evans refutes links with Ferrari
Last year's Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has been forced to deny he discussed doping when he met disgraced sports doctor Michele Ferrari.
Two weeks ago the United States Anti-Doping Agency published a 1,000-page report which alleged Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team had been guilty of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".
USADA alleged Armstrong's doping programme was organised by Dr Ferrari, a consultant to the US Postal Service team.
The cyclist announced the severing of their professional relationship in 2004 after the Italian's conviction for sporting fraud in October 2004.
However, USADA said "it was business as usual" for the pair the following year and claimed they had evidence showing Armstrong made payments to Ferrari's Swiss company totalling more than one million dollars between 1996 and 2006.
Evans' Tour victory last year was hailed by the likes of Tyler Hamilton, a former team-mate of Armstrong and a confessed drug cheat, as a triumph for clean cycling.
Today, though, the Australian was forced to explain the reason behind his meeting with Ferrari which surfaced during last year's Tour when the Italian revealed he had been contacted by Evans' then manager Tony Rominger.
The 35-year-old Evans stressed the consultation in summer 2000 was solely to assess his potential as a road cyclist after success in mountain biking.
"I have never seen or had contact before or after this test," Evans told Australian TV channel SBS by email.
"I was recommended to take a test by my manager Tony Rominger to understand if I had the capabilities to race on the road. I took the test as Mr Ferrari described on his website. Mr Ferrari briefly explained the results to me and the meeting was over.
"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.
"There was never any discussion of doping (with Dr Ferrari) or any sign of anything illegal."
The UCI, cycling's governing body, will reveal later today whether it has ratified the USADA's decision to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of his seven Tour titles.