Cycling

Dope doc 'worked in all sports'

2013-01-29 17:57
Eufemiano Fuentes (AP)

Madrid - A Spanish doctor on trial over a major blood doping racket involving top professional cyclists said on Tuesday he had worked for athletes in "all kinds" of sports.

"I worked on a private basis with individual sportspersons of all kinds," Eufemiano Fuentes, 57, who is charged with public health offences, told the court in Madrid.

Police detained Fuentes in 2006 when they seized 200 bags of blood and other evidence of performance-enhancing transfusions, in an investigation dubbed "Operation Puerto".

Fuentes, who is on trial along with his sister and three other defendants, told the court on Tuesday that "most" of the sportspersons he was working for in 2006 were cyclists.

Investigators at the time listed 58 cyclists suspected in the scandal.

Of the 58, only six have received sporting sanctions: Spain's Alejandro Valverde, Germans Jan Ullrich and Joerg Jaksche and Italians Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and Giampaolo Caruso, who was later cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Fuentes's lawyer Julian Perez-Templado told AFP after Monday's hearing that the doctor would not reveal the names of any more of his clients.

The defendants are charged with endangering public health rather than incitement to doping, which was not a crime in Spain at the time of the arrests.

Fuentes denies that his treatment endangered the cyclists' health.

He told the court that athletes in various sports came to him for "medical and nutrional advice, physical and medical tests to guarantee that their health would not suffer".

"Some wanted monitoring for a whole season, others had diseases, or a particular injury, or they wanted advice for a particular event," he said.

The trial in Madrid will do little to boost the credibility of a sport reeling from US rider Lance Armstrong's admission that he doped his way to a record seven Tour de France wins.

A court official said on Tuesday that Armstrong's former team-mate Tyler Hamilton will testify at the Madrid trial, after the judge granted a request by the World Anti-Doping Agency, a civil party in the case.

Other trial witnesses include Alberto Contador, Tour de France winner in 2007 and 2009, who returned to competition last year after a two-year ban related to a separate case in which he denied doping.

The 30-year-old Contador, due to appear on February 5, was cleared of any involvement in the Puerto affair by a Spanish judge and the sport's world governing body the International Cycling Union.

The date for Hamilton's testimony had yet to be set. The trial is scheduled to last until March 22.

Read more on:    cycling
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