0 7 - 1 2 - 2 0 0 6
Le Monde: Fuentes treated Real Madrid and Barca
Documents obtained by Le Monde suggest that Dr Eufemiano Fuentes has had dealings with some major players in the football world
Top football clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona used the services of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, according to a report in
"I worked with Spanish first and second division clubs," he said in an interview to the French newspaper. "I worked with several clubs at the same time, sometimes directly with the footballers themselves, sometimes by sharing my knowledge with the teams doctors. I was the doctor of the Las Palmas team in 2002 during a year when it player in first division... I had an offer from an Italian club but I turned it down.
Fuentes was asked directly which football clubs he had worked with. "I can't tell, I have received death threats," he said. "I was told that if I told certain things, my family and myself could have serious problems. I've been threatened three times and it's not going to happen a fourth time.
"There are sports against which you cannot go against, because they have access to very powerful legal means to defend themselves. And it could also cost the current chief of the sport his post."
Le Monde interviewed Dr Fuentes at his home in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It based another story on two A4 sheets it obtained that were not seized in Operación Puerto. The paper underlined that the Guardia Civil did not search Dr Fuentes' Canary Islands residence - only his apartments in Madrid. And that there were some of his clients that the police did not discover.
The documents, in Dr Fuentes' handwriting, allegedly detail the preparation plans for the two clubs for the 2005-2006 seasons. The plan showed that the main objective of FC Barcelona was the Champions League in May, which it won, as well as having the players peak for the World Cup.
The training programs include circles and 'IG' symbols that correspond to preparation or rest periods. These are the same symbols used by Dr Fuentes in his plans for the Liberty Seguros riders, according to Le Monde. The Spanish Guardia Civil believe that these symbols correspond to anabolic steroids (circle) and Insulin Growth Factor - IGF-1 (IG).
Other symbols are used in the team plans, including a rounded 'e', and a circle with a dot in it. These are supposed to correspond to blood transfusions and the administration of EPO. Some individual players had tailored programs, in case they were injured or tired.
Eufemiano Fuentes did not have a formal relationship with either FC Barcelona or Real Madrid. His plans were allegedly sent via the team doctor or one of the players. Ex-pro Jesus Manzano, who first alerted police to the dealings of Fuentes, said that he saw a Real Madrid player while visiting the doctor. Nevertheless, FC Barcelona did try to hire Dr Fuentes in both 1996 and 2002, but both times he refused.
"I committed no crime"
Fuentes is adamant that in providing his services to athletes, he was fulfilling his role as a doctor. "I have committed no crime against public health," he said. "In 29 years of practicing, none of my clients have ever had a health problem.
"If an athlete endangers his health by practising his discipline, I react first as a doctor. If the medicine used to protect him is on the list of banned substances, it's of secondary importance. Doctors should have the freedom and sufficient autonomy to be able to decide how to manage a particular treatment, regardless of whether it's a drug or not."
Fuentes defended his methods, taking a more liberal view towards doping than various sports governing bodies. "I consider doping as the use or the abuse of a substance or drug by a person who doesn't have the knowledge or experience or the ability to use them… Medicine doesn't kill if it's in the right hands."
"Top level sport is unhealthy," he stated. "When I did my doctoral thesis, I determined the muscular damage done to a cyclist in a stage race. This is what's dangerous for the health of the athletes, the overloaded calendars, the criminal courses designed by the organisers for the benefit of a spectacle."
He also argued against the 50% hematocrit limit set by the UCI. "Now, it's healthier to do the Tour de France with a hematocrit of 53% rather than one of 31%. Let a rider attack the Alps with a hematocrit of 31. That is putting his life in danger."