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Thursday 16, May 2013

  Nadal Criticizes Ruling To Destroy Doping Evidence

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Nadal Criticizes Ruling To Destroy Doping Evidence

Rafael Nadal of Spain has criticized the decision to destroy evidence in the doping scandal of his country.

Dr Eufemiano Fuentes was recently convicted for his role in supplying blood transfusions to cyclists but a Spanish court ordered 211 blood bags to be destroyed without analysis. The doctor received a suspended sentence of one year for endangering public health and has claimed that he has worked with tennis players as well as runners, footballers, and boxers.

Nadal said the ruling was not positive for anyone and the only ones that benefited were those who cheated and the ones that are hurt are Spanish athletes and sports in general. The former world number one, who has won 11 grand slams, also remarked the image this transmits to the world isn’t the one we were hoping for and said he thinks it is a mistake that the names (of Fuentes’ clients) are not known, but that is what happened. Nadal also remarked that we will keep working so that sports stay clean and this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Britain’s Andy Murray had had already questioned the outcome of the case and tweeted, “Why would court order blood bags to be destroyed? #coverup.”

Murray criticized Spanish officials for their handling of the Operation Puerto trial, asking if they could be guilty of the “biggest cover-up in sports history”. “Case is beyond a joke,” tweeted Murray. He said it was essential that anyone who was involved should be named and remarked if one in 100 is doping then, in my eyes, that isn’t a clean sport and we need to do everything we can to ensure we have everyone that’s competing at the highest level and below is clean. He went on to add that he knows what goes in his body and he knows from his side that he is clean, so that’s all he can comment on.

Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria denied access to anti-doping authorities and international sports bodies that wanted to analyze the bags to see whether they implicate athletes in sports other than cycling; Santamaria ordered that the bags be destroyed.

The International Tennis Federation announced in March this year that it was to implement an Athlete Biological Passport program under which biological data will be collected and compared to spot discrepancies over time that suggest possible doping. This announcement came in the wake of questions raised by some of the sport’s top players about existing drug-testing procedures that focused mainly on urine tests.

A statement issued by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), on the Fuentes case, said it hopes this is not the end of the matter and it reads that access to this evidence motivated WADA’s involvement in this case and this would ensure appropriate sports sanction processes against the cheats who used Dr Fuentes’ services. The statement reads the court did consider that his conduct was a crime against public health. Dick Pound, the former head of WADA, added that it’s embarrassing for Spain and everybody knows we will be able to uncover quite a bit more doping if the examples are made available.

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Sunday 17, Feb 2013

  Former Professional Rider Testifies In Operation Puerto Trial

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Former Professional Rider Testifies In Operation Puerto Trial

Puerto trial plaintiff and former professional rider Jesus Manzano recently told the court about complex doping used in cycling. One of the plaintiffs in the Operation Puerto trial, Manzano provided details of a bewildering range of doping techniques that were used to improve performance and told Judge Julia Santamaria that two of the drugs he was given were developed for veterinary use.

Manzano said Actovegin and Oxiglobin are for animals and the team members used to share jokes that some days you barked and others you mooed. Jesus Manzano testified that under the supervision of the doctor at the center of the Puerto case, Eufemiano Fuentes, he was given blood doping transfusions, the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) and substances for masking doping agents after their use.

The cyclist who collapsed during the 2003 Tour De France after a botched doping attempt involving banned performance enhancing drugs also said he saw a Spanish footballer who has played for the national team attended the clinic of Fuentes and there were also two famous Brazilian players. Manzano told the court how drugs would be transported inside the medical car of Fuentes and a special room was set aside at a hotel for him to administer transfusions, EPO, and other things.

An independent medical expert contracted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, Yorck Olaf Schumacher, was also questioned and said many of the techniques employed by Fuentes involved an element of risk. He added that blood doping as practiced by Fuentes could lead to low blood pressure, fatigue, and dizziness and added that was ‘normally only used in surgery that is scheduled in advance.’ Schumacher added that some of the blood extractions used by Eufemiano Fuentes involved 20 percent of the total volume of blood in the body that can disturb the proper functioning and added that Fuentes used to transport bags of blood around “as if it were the most normal thing in the world.”

The former Spanish cyclist whose near-death experience during the 2003 Tour de France led directly to the Operation Puerto investigation around the sport doctor. Manzano said he was treated with EPO in 2000, 2001, and 2003 by Eufemiano and the doctor and his sister used to offer riders with ‘white powders’ that would mask the blood booster and added that the white powder was put into the penis for deteriorating urine so that the riders didn’t deliver positive EPO tests. The former professional rider added that riders used to transfuse saline solution and human albumin into their bloodstream to lower the hematocrit level in attempts to pass the controls of the world governing body of cycling, the UCI. The former Kelme rider also remarked that the procedure used for preparing blood doping bags for use during competitions used to be planned in advance and said riders took EPO a month before an extraction and it was best to leave an additional 12-day margin so as not to test positive. Manzano also said that he had also been administered with HMG, a substance used for making the presence of the hormones, testosterone and epitetosterone.

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