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Saturday 23, Mar 2013

  German Cyclist Casts Doubt On Fuentes Defense In Trial

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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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Thursday 21, Mar 2013

  Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

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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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Tuesday 22, Jan 2013

  Spain Accused Of A Doping Cover-Up

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Spain Accused Of A Doping Cover-Up

The Spanish government has been accused of suppressing evidence that linked tennis and football stars to a notorious doctor. The doctor will go on trial in Madrid in the next few days and has been described as a “one-man Wal-Mart” of doping.

Spanish detectives have been collecting evidence from all across Europe against Dr Eufemiano Fuentes since first raiding his offices in 2006. The investigation, known as “Operation Puerto”, has disclosed one of the most extensive drug rings in the history of sports. The appearance of Fuentes will mark the start of a trial expected to last two months; the doctor has been charged with public health offenses and the rampant culture of drug use in cycling may get exposed again, just a few days after the dramatic confession of the disgraced cycling champion, Lance Armstrong, to Oprah Winfrey on US television.

The Spanish authorities have ruled that the case will only cover his involvement in cycling despite the fact that the tainted doctor has freely admitted to working with professional cyclists, tennis, and football players. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been left infuriated by the failure to explore the work of Fuentes outside cycling in court. Dave Howman, WADA’s director general, said the agency has been banging its heads against a brick wall to get access to evidence that was collected and it is not only frustrating and disappointing but it also means that many athletes who might be dirty have been allowed to compete. Howman further added that the anti-doping agency is told that the doctor’s patients were across a number of sports and it was disappointing that cycling was the only sport isolated.

Spain was something of a wild west frontier for doping before the Operation Puerto case as it was not illegal in Spain at the time.

The International Cycling Union (UCI)  president Pat McQuaid said it is disappointing to learn that only cycling was investigated despite the fact that Fuentes said it himself, 30 per cent of his clients were cyclists.

During a raid on the office of Fuentes, police found fridges filled with bags of blood and labelled with code names such as Bella, Son of Ryan, and Zapatero as well as extensive written records. Star names such as Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, and Jan Ullrich were implicated along with many other cyclists in the doping ring; all 54 cyclists were eventually suspended, but many others were cleared.

Fuentes is suspected by German police to have worked with footballers at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Jorge Jaksche, whose career was ended by Operation Puerto, said the doctor boasted about his work with other sportsmen. The German rider further added that blood bags were pulled out from fridges, according to videos made by the police during the raid. These bags had specific code names written on them to identify the athletes but these names never appear in the report and there is a big cover-up by the Spanish government and remarked that there is no interest from on high in too much information coming out.

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Friday 09, Nov 2012

  Italian Cyclist Suspended After Links To Ferrari Exposed

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Italian Cyclist Suspended After Links To Ferrari Exposed

Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi has been temporarily suspended by his Lampre-ISD team after he admitted to working with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari.

The cyclist, who won the 2011 edition of the Giro d’Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of his title following a positive test for the banned drug Clenbuterol, admitted last month that he had worked with the doctor following reports in Gazzetta dello Sport linking the duo.

Ferrari played a key role in the systematic doping program employed by Lance Armstrong’s US Postal and Discovery Channel teams between 1999 and 2005 and was handed a lifetime ban from working in professional sports in July 2012. Scarponi has been suspended on a temporary basis by Lampre-ISD even though the cyclist has not admitted to any connection with doping and to working with Ferrari before he joined the team. Meanwhile, the Italian Cycling Federation is also believed to have launched an investigation which may put Scarponi “out of action for some time”.

A spokesman for Lampre-ISD said the team was following its internal medical policy and Michele Scarponi has been suspended by the team doctor Carlo Guardascione. The suspension of the Italian cyclist began on October 25 when he released his statement and the Italian Cycling Federation has been notified of the suspension, the spokesman added.

Scarponi was previously banned for 18 months for his involvement in Operation Puerto in 2007. Operación Puerto was the code name of a Spanish Police operation against the doping network of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes; the operation resulted in a scandal that involved several of the world’s most famous cyclists at the time. Scarponi admitted he was Zapatero while Jörg Jaksche admitted he was Bella in Fuentes’ files while Ivan Basso who was cleared by Italian authorities due to lack of evidence admitted involvement in the scandal to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

The Italian professional road bicycle racer was able to secure a contract with Acqua & Sapone despite been implicated in the Operación Puerto doping case in 2006. The next year he was implicated again in the Operación Puerto case and confessed his role in the case on May 8, 2007. Thereafter, he was provisionally suspended on May 15, 2007. Diquigiovanni-Androni announced on June 13, 2008 that they had signed Scarponi for the coming two seasons with the cyclist completing the ban and won the Tirreno-Adriatico and also won 2 stages in the Giro d’Italia in 2009.

The Italian cyclist was able to award himself a second place finish in the Tirreno-Adriatic and was able to finish fourth overall in the Giro d’Italia where Scarponi was able to took a prestigious victory in the epic stage 19 and went on to a win in the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda. After moving in 2011 to Lampre-ISD, Scarponi won the Giro del Trentino and the Volta a Catalunya and finished  second overall behind Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia. After Contrador was stripped of the title for using Clenbuterol which he blamed it on contaminated meat, Scarponi was assigned the title. He finished 4th overall while trying to defend his Giro title in 2012 with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal taking the overall win.

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Saturday 08, Sep 2012

  Ivan Basso To Receive Tour De France 2005 Title

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Ivan Basso To Receive Tour De France 2005 Title

Ivan Basso, who recently returned to cycling after a two-year doping ban, could soon be receiving the Tour de France 2005 title after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) stripped seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of “all competitive results from Aug. 1, 1998 through the present.”

This would also mean that Alex Zulle (convicted of using the blood-boosting EPO drug) would be receiving the 1999 jersey, Jan Ullrich would receive the 2000, 2001 and 2003 jerseys, and Joseba Beloki would get the 2002 jersey. Interestingly, both Ullrich and Beloki were involved in a massive drug investigation in Spain.

This means that the USADA is keen to punish a player who “may be” doping (Lance Armstrong) even though the agency has no drug testing proof against him and the anti-doping agency would take all his titles and distribute them to cyclists who were also accused of doping or unfair sport practices. This is surely a personal vendetta by the USADA against Lance in which it can punish one who “may have” doped, and reward one who doped.

Ivan Basso would surely be thanking his stars for claiming the 2005 title. Born on 26 November 1977 in Gallarate, Province of Varese, the Italian professional road bicycle racer is presently racing with UCI ProTeam Liquigas-Cannondale. Considered to be among the best mountain riders in the professional field in the 21st century and one of the strongest stage race riders, Basso is a double winner of the Giro d’Italia, having won the 2006 edition and the 2010 edition of the Italian Grand Tour whilst riding for Team CSC in 2006 and for Liquigas in 2010.

In the 2002 edition of the Tour de France, he won the white jersey (the award presented to the best-placed rider in the general classification under the age of 25) and finished 11th overall. In the 2004 Tour de France, Ivan Basso looked impressive and won stage 12 ahead of eventual winner Lance Armstrong, his first victory since 2001.

The cyclist was suspended by his Discovery Channel team in 2007 because of a reopened Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) investigation into involvement of the Italian cyclist with the Operation Puerto blood doping ring. According to allegations, the Italian cyclist was allegedly given blood doping by the Dr. Fuentes in a Spanish clinic. Basso was acquitted on 27 October 2006 for any involvement in the Operation Puerto events by the committee because of insufficient evidence.

Basso announced on 9 November 2006 that he was joining Lance Armstrong’s former team, Discovery Channel. The team however suspended him in April 2007 and announced that Basso would be released from his contract. The Italian cyclist was suspended for two years after he admitted to contacting Dr. Fuentes’ clinic with the intention to engage in blood doping. The suspension ended on October 24, 2008 and Basso made a return to racing two days later in the Japan Cup, where he placed a close third behind Damiano Cunego and Giovanni Visconti.

Ivan Basso would now receive the 2005 Tour de France title after the US Anti-doping Agency banned Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of all his seven Tour titles.

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Monday 03, Sep 2012

  Armstrong Case Leads To Nightmare Of Rewriting History

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The world governing body of cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale, has been confronting the worst-possible scenario of potentially having to award the Tour de France titles that are set to be erased after the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) acted against Lance Armstrong, the winner of seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong received a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and was stripped of his record seven Tour de France wins.

The governing body has questioned the right of the USADA to strip Armstrong in the past. The process is not easy as runner-ups and others when Armstrong his titles were not clean either. Jan Ullrich finished second three times, Swiss rider Alex Zullie was second once, and Ivan Basso of Italy was second once. Ullrich has been banned for a drugs offence and the UCI would now have to get ready to contemplate announcing any of them as retrospective winner. This would also mean that drug cheats including Alexandre Vinokourov, Raimondas Rumsas, and Tyler Hamilton would now receive the laurels that again expose the game of cycling to ridicule. The woes of UCI do not end here. It would also be expected to provide an answer to whether it has done enough for scrutinizing Lance Armstrong during his career.

After Armstrong was stripped of his Tour De France titles when he refused to clear himself of doping charges, John-Lee Augustyn (a former Team Sky friend of Armstrong), said cycling would go into a steep decline with the fall of Lance. Augustyn added that the suspension of Armstrong would even mean sponsors would shy away from cycling and this is surely not good news for cyclists and the game.

Nightline from ABC News : Lance Armstrong Accepts Lifetime Ban from Cycling – Video

Armstrong was accused by many of his former teammates, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis of making use of performance enhancing drugs and even encouraging others to dope. In his about-to-be released book, “The Secret Race. Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France, Doping, Cover-ups and Winning at All Costs“, Hamilton has remarked that doping was like gravity or oxygen for Lance and said doping during the reign of the cyclist was a mandatory practice for any one who wanted to compete at the elite level. He went on to say that Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel, the director of the US Postal Service cycling team, teamed up with the doctors to set up a sophisticated blood doping program. Hamilton also admitted that he started doping with testosterone in 1997 and continued till he tested positive in 2004.

Landis, on the other hand, has joined hands with the USADA to prove that Armstrong doped during his illustrious career. In 2010, he wrote an email to USA Cycling chief Steve Johnson alleging he participated with Lance in a complex doping program when they were teammates. Floyd Landis was recently ordered to pay $478,000 in restitution for defrauding donors with a legal defense fund that he established in 2006 to retain his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for testosterone. His case would be dismissed if he repays the $478,354 to 1,765 donors within three years.

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Tuesday 24, Jan 2012

  Seven to face trial in doping scandal

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Seven people accused in Operation Puerto doping scandal in cycling would be finally stand trial in Spain, facing up to two years in prison.

More than 50 cyclists were implicated, including three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Alejandro Valverde, in the use of performance-enhancing substances or practices.

Valverde is the only Spanish rider who has been punished using Puerto evidence.

Monday 09, Jan 2012

  Seven to face trial in dope scandal

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Seven people linked to Operation Puerto doping scandal in cycling would be finally stand trial in Spain, facing up to two years in prison.

More than 50 cyclists – including three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Alejandro Valverde – in the use of performance-enhancing substances or practices were implicated.

Valverde is the only rider from Spain who has been punished using Puerto evidence.

Thursday 05, Jan 2012

  Operation Puerto doctor could be jailed

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Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of a Spanish doping probe, could be jailed for up to two years for crimes against public health, a Madrid court said.

The court said in a statement prosecutors have asked for a two-year sentence for Eufemiano Fuentes and six others, including his sister Yolanda and former cycling team directors Manolo Saiz, Vicente Belda and Jose Ignacio Labarta.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has expressed its frustration at the refusal by judicial authorities of Spain to allow them access to evidence from the operation.

Saturday 31, Dec 2011

  Trial for seven doping scandal accused

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Seven people linked to Operation Puerto doping scandal of cycling would face trial in Spain, facing nearly two years in prison.

Sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, former Liberty Seguros team boss Manolo Saiz and five others arrested in 2006 on suspicion to offer doping services to cyclists will be tried, Madrid’s Superior Court said in a statement.

In May 2006, bags of blood, blood transfusion equipment, and anabolic steroids were found by Spanish authorities from raids in Zaragoza and Madrid.

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