In the early 90s, the entire peloton was convinced that the Italian supremacy was due to foul play by the Italians. EPO was the answer. The University of Ferrara was involved with this form of doping. Francesco Conconi and his pupil Michele Ferrari worked here. The medical supervision of the Italian pro-cyclists was under their control.

Conconi did Bugno. Ferrari had Argentin and Furlan under his supervision. Conconi was already famous in the world of cycling. In 1984 he guided Moser successfully in his attempt to improve the world hour record of Merckx. It later came out that in Mexico Moser received blood transfusions from young Italian athletes with the same blood group, who were selected in Italy and traveling with them to Mexico for that purpose.

Conconi was also well known because of his Conconitest. A basically simple test for the determination of the maximum load of the body. According to authorities on sports medicine the studies of Conconi and Ferrari are not held in high regard. They do not have a special place in the scientific world of sports medicine. The Conconi test has scientifically no value at all. Since 1984 they have experimented in Ferrara with blood doping. Later they continued to investigate the effects of EPO.

Francesco Conconi
Francesco Conconi                             Michele Ferrari

Conconi injected himself EPO. The 59-year-old professor wanted to feel the effects of blood doping in his own body. Conconi prepared himself with EPO for a climbing contest with Francesco Moser. In that race Conconi finished only two minutes behind Moser who was preparing at that moment to attack the world hour record. On the day of this race Conconi had a haematocrit value of 57%, almost 20% above its natural value. During a search in his house lists were found with 407 fictitious names. For each person they gave the correct dosage and the preferred doping substances. The pseudonym for Conconi himself was H.B. Ferroni. Other names that were found in the administration of Conconi: The Dane Bjarne Riis, winner of Tour de France in 1996, the Irishman Steven Roche, winner World Cup, Tour de France and Giro in 1987, the Italian Gianni Bugno twice world champion and Francesco Moser.


Michele Ferrari, graduated in 1981 in Rome as a sports doctor. His thesis was titled: The oxygen transport in the blood in long distance runners. Since 1984 he has worked in cycling through the intercession of Francesco Moser.

He was the sports doctor of Gianni Bugno, Toni Rominger, Moreno Argentin, Mario Cipollini and Lance Armstrong. His fee rate, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport is simple: 10% of the salary of his customers. He learned everything about sports medicine and cycling from  Professor Conconi, who was acquitted by the court because the facts against him were now barred.

Ferrari was sentenced in 2004 to one year imprisonment for the unlawful exercise of the pharmacy profession and sporting fraud. He was suspended in 2002 by the Italian Olympic committee for life and Italian riders with a license are not allowed to work with him on pain of suspension. In 2012 Ferrari was also suspended by WADA for life.

In the Flèche Wallonne in 1994, three riders of the Italian formation Gewiss were:  1, 2, and 3. Moreno Argentin, Giorgio Furlan and Evgeny Berzin. Team Doctor of  Gewiss at that  time was Michele Ferrari, who made the following sweeping statement in an interview after this stunning victory: “EPO is as innocent as orange juice”.

La Flèche Wallonne 1994.
Moreno Argentin, Giorgio Furlan and Evgeny Berzin:
Number one, two and three.
Victory or Death.
Podium of the World championships in Lugano 1996
The First five places were for Italy.
Second from the left is Paolo Bettini

The Italian juniors underlined later, during the World Cup in 1996 in Lugano, clearly that EPO was present in all categories of Italian cycling. They dominated the championship in a superior way: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The press openly spoke of a disgrace.

Bjarne Riis
Gianni Bugno

Mario Cipollini