SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's 2011 Tour De France winner Cadel Evans has admitted meeting the Italian doctor at the heart of the Lance Armstrong scandal more than a decade ago but said they never discussed doping.
Evans, who was Australia's first winner of the endurance classic, said in an e-mail to Australia's SBS television that he met with Michele Ferrari to undergo a test to ascertain his suitability for road racing.
Ferrari was banned from involvement in cycling for life after the publication of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)'s report alleging that Armstrong won his record seven Tour titles on the back of a highly sophisticated doping regime.
"My only motive at the time ... was to understand my capabilities as a road rider," Evans wrote.
"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.
"I have never seen or had contact before or after this test."
Cycling's governing body UCI will announce later on Monday whether it has ratified the USADA's sanctions, including stripping Armstrong of his Tour titles.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)