Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

The doctor at the center of the massive Operation Puerto blood doping trial has told the court that he would name the clients whose blood has been seized.

Eufemiano Fuentes, who is on trial for allegedly running a doping network in cycling and ran one of sport’s largest blood-doping rings, threatened to name all his former clients. The Spanish doctor made the offer through reporters during Spain’s Operation Puerto trial. Fuentes remarked that if the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish drugs authorities consider that he can be useful and sought his help, he would be willing. He added that this would not be done for a reduced sentence but rather so there is mutual collaboration and also remarked they can have his client list if they want. Till now, only 54 cyclists, including Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Alejandro Valverde, have been personally implicated in the scandal.

Fuentes has admitted to having worked with people in football, tennis, boxing, and athletics and said cycling only comprised 30 percent of his work. This change of heart came as the world governing body of cycling urged the judge to show no leniency. The doctor faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail on public health charges and the five defendants on trial, including the Spanish doctor’s sister, Yolanda, will have one final opportunity to address the court on April 2 before sentencing commences. The defendants have been appearing in court since late January, almost seven years after police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment and blood bags as part of an investigation code-named “Operation Puerto”.

The trial proceedings have attracted international scrutiny and attention as anti-doping authorities are hopeful that it will finally lead to evidence of wrongdoing by athletes in sports other than cycling. Previously, a request by WADA for access to the blood bags was repeatedly denied by the Spanish authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency awaits the ruling of the judge on their latest petition. Since the current anti-doping legislation of Spain was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place, the defendants are tried for violating public health regulations with the prosecutor asking for jail sentences of two years.

In the past, German cyclist Joerg Jaksche told the Operation Puerto trial that the treatment he received from the Spanish doctor was designed to beat doping controls and had nothing to do with genuine health issues. Italian rider Ivan Basso, a double Giro d’Italia champion, told the court that he had blood extracted on three occasions at the clinic of another doctor implicated in the case but never had any reinjected. Spanish cyclist Angel Vicioso told the judge he had only met with Eufemiano Fuentes for sporadic medical consultations. Former cyclist Marcos Serrano contradicted testimony from former team director Manolo Saiz, one of the five defendants along with Fuentes, by saying he never personally sought out medical treatment from the disgraced Spanish doctor. Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who was originally scheduled to appear as a witness was told he would not be required to appear in court after Manolo Saiz’s attorney renounced the witness statement he had requested from the cyclist.

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