Shortly after the news of his A-sample showed signs of EPO, Denis Galimzyanov wrote a handwritten confession letter, absolving Katusha from any involvement. This was strange for two reasons:
1. No one confesses anything anymore.
2. The staff at Katusha are an incredibly suspicious lot:
Exhibit A: Katusha's owner, Igor Makarov, heads the Russian cycling federation, recently became a sitting member of the UCI management committee, and made his billions as chairman of ITERA Russian gas (what else?) company.
Igor Makarov with Pat McQuaid
Exhibit B: current team DS, Hans-Michael Holczer, former DS at Gerolsteiner (overseeing the notorious squad of Shumacher, Rebellin, and Bernard Kohl). Holczer left cycling after all his good riders were found to be doping or judged to be very likely doping (according to Holczer, Leipheimer included). As is typical in the world of bike racing, he was brought back this year as Katusha's DS.
Exhibit C: Katusha medical staff have a suspicious history. Team doctor Andrei Mikhailov was once busted with a van full of EPO and given a 12-month suspended sentence. It is unclear why someone with such a background would be employed with a team, except as a doping doctor.
Exhibit D: Katusha riders have not been immune from busts--Christian Pfannberger and Antonio Colom were busted last year, as well as Alexander Kolobnev (although Kolobnev's case has seen a reversal strangely coincident with Makarov's move to the UCI management committee). Also of note--an email exchange between Kolobnev and Vinokourov provides fairly conclusive evidence that Kolobnev threw the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege for Vino.
For those in the know, the initial handwritten confession did nothing to lift suspicion from the Katusha organization. The strangeness of the note, its exaggerated emphasis (Galimzyanov used all-caps for the sentence proclaiming Katusha's complete innocence), and its timing brought to mind Soviet Russia, not a guilt-wracked young man.
It was then hardly surprising that today Galimzyanov released another note, again hand-written. In it, Galimzyanov now blames a then-Katusha employee--one Mario Cipollini:
“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 Galimzyanov partied too much and his fitness suffered; therefore, to compensate for the Cipollini-inspired poor fitness (i.e., what happens when "sexy girls sit on your lap"), Galimzyanov purchased and injected, entirely on his own, EPO.
Today, says Galimzyanov, he has learned an important lesson: "I do not have his hair."
Back in 2010 when Katusha hired Cipollini to mentor Pozzato, then-DS Andre Tchmil stated, "Our organization is becoming more and more structured: the experience of a former World Champion can’t be anything but useful." Instead of mentoring Pozzato, who fled Katusha for Farnese-Vini, Cipollini flaunted his hair in front of young Denis Galimzyanov, corrupting an impressionable young man.