Doping doctor 'treated tennis players, athletes, footballers and a boxer'
DISGRACED Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes has given explosive evidence on the first day of Operation Puerto trial, telling a Spanish court he treated athletes, footballers, a boxer and tennis players, but claimed he was helping their recovery from anaemia rather than enhancing their performance illegally.
Fuentes, who has been brought to trial after a seven-year delay that started with the civil guard raid of his premises which uncovered 200 blood bags, has long been associated with scores of cyclists.
But his fresh evidence could open the way for the World Anti-Doping Agency to start further investigations into the other sports, if Fuentes provides names and further details.
Fuentes, his sister Yolande, as well as Manolo Saiz, a former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director; and Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both associated with the former Kelme team have been charged with breaking public health laws and face up to two years jail if it is proven they exposed the cyclists to a health risk.
But the judge Julia Santamaria has rejected a plea from the prosecutors to allow the detailed evidence gathered from Fuentes computer files because it would be a breach of privacy. It is believed such evidence includes references to specific sportsmen and women outside of cycling.
Earlier the judge had ruled that the evidence before the trial would be limited to cycling only. This morning the judge ruled that Lance Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate Tyler Hamilton would be allowed to be added to the witness list of 35 cyclists to give evidence to the court.
Fuentes said he treated athletes with low hematocrit or anaemia and that the blood extractions were often made in hotels because of privacy requests from the cyclists.
''In 2006 I worked with all types of athletes. Footballers, athletes, cyclists, boxer and tennis players,'' Fuentes told the court.
He said the bags were coded for convenience. "The bags had a numeric code and sometimes also asked to alias, which is always shorter than a name and a surname," Fuentes said, adding that he and his colleague Merino Batres understood the code.