Sunday 25 February 2018

Doctor had clients in 'all kinds' of sports

Fiona Govan in Madrid

THE Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of sport's most notorious doping scandals admitted in court that his client list included athletes from "all kinds" of sports.

Dr Eufemanio Fuentes (57) told the Madrid court he worked on a private basis with athletes outside of cycling, the sport that was heavily implicated in the Operation Puerto investigation by Spanish police.

"I worked with cyclists, but also footballers, boxers, tennis players and athletes," said Fuentes, who told the court he was helping athletes deal with anemia issues rather than performance-enhancing doping and at one stage said the EPO hormone-boosting supplement police found when they raided his premises in 2006 was part of his daughter's cancer treatment.

The first to be called to the stand in a case that has taken almost seven years to come to trial, Dr Fuentes detailed the procedures he administered to athletes and insisted they posed no risk to their health.

He and four others are accused of involvement in the widespread doping of professional cyclists, but are charged with breaking public health laws rather than incitement to doping, which was not a crime in Spain until late 2006.

The judge in the case ruled that data found by police, and suspected to prove his links to sportsmen outside of cycling, is not admissable, due to breaches of privacy.

Police raids on premises linked to Fuentes in May 2006 saw the seizure of some 200 bags of tampered blood labelled with a complex system of codes and and a virtual pharmacy of performance-enhancing substances, including EPO, human growth hormone, steroids and testosterone.

The Worldwide Anti Doping Agency is demanding access to the blood bags so they can carry out DNA testing in an effort to trace the athletes involved. The court has given them three days to make a formal request. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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