German Cyclist Casts Doubt On Fuentes Defense In Trial

The Operation Puerto blood doping trial was recently told by German cyclist Jörg Jaksche that he the treatment he received from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was designed to beat doping controls and had nothing to do with genuine health issues. The evidence of Jaksche on the first day of testimony from professional riders before the judge in Madrid may have a bearing on whether the Spanish court decides that the disgraced doctor who denies doping and other defendants violated public health laws.

The cyclist from Germany was the first cyclist to admit blood doping in connection with the Puerto investigation that made it to the courtroom almost after seven years after Spanish police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment, and blood bags in 2006. On June 2007, the cyclist said he had used banned drugs over a period of 10 years and confirmed that he was a client of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes from 2005 and said going to see the doctor was like “going for an oil change”. The rider said Fuentes had supplied him with banned drugs including the booster erythropoietin (EPO) and performed blood transfusions. Jaksche also told the court that Fuentes had also given him an unidentified “white powder” to contaminate urine samples.

The accused doctor, along with four other defendants including his sister Yolanda, is being tried for violating health laws as the Spain’s current anti-doping legislation was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place. The prosecutor has asked for jail sentences of two years.

Last month, Fuentes remarked he had clients in sports including soccer, tennis, athletics, and boxing and agreed to reveal his client list if the same is sought by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish anti-doping authorities. The judge Julia Santamaria said she would not prevent Fuentes from doing so but would also not oblige him to do so, and said it would infringe the rights of those implicated.

In another development, Italian rider Ivan Basso told the court he had blood extracted on three occasions at the clinic of another doctor implicated in the Operation Puerto case but never had any reinjected. Tyler Hamilton, a long-time associate of Lance Armstrong, told the court that he paid tens of thousands of dollars a year for doping to the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal. The rider said he used blood doping about 15 times and also bought the blood booster EPO, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin from Eufemiano Fuentes. He said he paid $33,000 to $40,000 for the services in 2002 and 2003. The former rider for the U.S. Postal and CSC teams who was stripped of his gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics last year after confessing to doping said he had first met the Spanish doctor in Spain at a highway rest area between Barcelona and Valencia “to fix up blood transfusions” and “to plan for the future.” He named one-time Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner “Bjarne Riis, general manager of team CSC, when asked who put him in contact with Fuentes.

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