First, Katusha sprinter Denis Galimzyanov admitted to doping in a hand written letter posted on the team website. He insisted that he had acted alone and that no Katusha personnel were involved.
However, in a second latter released today the Russian blames Mario Cipolini for influencing him to take the performance enhancing drug. The famous Italian sprinter had been hired last year by then manager Andre Tchmil to work with the team sprinters. Galimzyanov claims that Cipollini introduced him to the “fast life”
“I admit that perhaps I took his ideas too far,” wrote Galimzyanov. “He taught me everything about what it takes to be the fastest — the beautiful women, the night clubs, the parties. He told me if I wanted to be fast, I had to live faster.”
Apparently the pressure and stress of hanging out with Cipollini led Galimzyanov to take short cuts. “I learned I am not a Lion King but a young man with a simple dream. I could not keep up with Cipo — the endless parties, these sexy girls sitting on my lap, the endless schmoozing. I am not quotable. It is against my nature to say outrageous things.”
The rambling letter, written in all caps, goes on to make clear that Cipollini never advised him to take EPO, that the subject never even came up. However, the Russian says the aging playboy was a bad influence.
“I do not have his hair, I do not look good in Italian suits, my smile does not light up a room. I only wanted to win races and make some money for my family back in Sverdlovsk,” wrote Galimzyanov. “I am not an egomaniac.”
Team manager Hans Holczer refused to comment on the Cipollini allegations. “We are not involved and this is not a team matter,” said Holczer. “Denis is an impressional young man and there’s no question that Cipollini is a powerful influence.”
Cipollini himself was shocked to learn that Galimzyanov blamed him for his EPO usage. “I took him to a few parties — Moscow has many beautiful women — but it was nothing crazy and only after the training block was finished,” said Cipolini. “I told him you must be a warrior, to be fast you have to live fast. He misunderstood me.”
Galimzyanov is currently suspended while awaiting action from the UCI and Russian Cycling Federation.