Counting the cost of PuertoClose
How much money changed hands between Fuentes and his clients in Operaci¢n Puerto ?Ivan Basso, Jan UlPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM €70,000 for a Fuentes treatment It cost up to €70,000 per year to be treated by Eufemiano Fuentes and co., according to Spanish weekly Intervi. In its latest issue, the publication goes into more detail about the financial side of Operaci¢n Puerto, based on leaked documents from the case. Intervi published a handwritten sheet of paper, which it claims was written by Fuentes. The document allegedly outlines how much he and the other members of his circle received from the riders on their program: Both "Birillo" and "Nibelungo" had to shell out €70,000 a year for their treatment, while "Sevilla", "Botero", "Hrs" and "Porras" had to pay €50,000 each. The codenames allegedly correspond to riders names ("Birillo" is Ivan Basso, "Nibelungo" is Jan Ullrich, "Sevilla" is Oscar Sevilla, "Botero" is Santiago Botero, "Hrs" is Roberto Heras and "Porras" is Francisco Mancebo, although Intervi offered no proof of this. Intervi published a second document concerning "Birillo", which is the result of a blood analysis carried out on him at Jose Merino Batres' lab on November 3, 2005. Ivan Basso has always denied any sort of link between himself and the Fuentes circle. If a rider under Fuentes' care won the Tour de France, then they would have to pay the doctor a bonus of €50,000. The Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espa¤a and World Championships were worth an extra €30,000 each. On the other side of the coin, Intervi showed how much this business was worth to its purveyors. The best paid was "Asterix", who received €150,000 per season, then "Mrn", who took home €84,000, while "Macario" and "M-P¤as" were both paid €50,000. Intervi alleged that "Asterix" was Eufemiano Fuentes, "Mrn" was Jose Merino Batres", "Macario" was Ignacio Labarta, and "M-P¤as" was Alessandro Kalc. The latter is a mountain bike instructor who is alleged to have been the main blood courier between Madrid and the Giro d'Italia. Basso looking forward Ivan Basso is more focused on the coming season rather than the latest Puerto allegations. The newly signed Discovery Channel rider is happy with his new team, and wants to emulate (in some respects) its former star Lance Armstrong. "It's fantastic to hear that Armstrong wants to win the Tour with me," Basso told Het Nieuwsblad. "I don't want to copy him as a leader, but definitely want to with his results. Bruyneel and Armstrong are my two rocks in the surf. We will work together for the Giro and Tour wins." Basso said that he had just come out of a "terrible period. First I lost my mother to cancer. Last summer, my grandfather died. Now this. And yet I've pulled everything into line. "I'm not the same Basso as the one from before the Tour. I don't believe anyone unconditionally any more, and I am suspicious now. I've learned from this dark period. They won't kick me on my backside twice." Ullrich wants one more year In contrast to Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich is still on the receiving end in Operaci¢n Puerto. The German hasn't found a team or even a country to ride for next season, but is determined to go on. In an interview with L'Equipe, Ullrich said that he didn't believe he would ride for a ProTour team again. "But I still want to race at least one more season. I had dreamed of winning the Tour de France this year and then announcing my retirement that same evening of the finish in Paris. But the events dictated otherwise. "I want to have one more chance, even with a Pro Continental team, which would allow me to race a Grand Tour, like the Giro. I just want to show some people that they were wrong about me." Sevilla hopeful Oscar Sevilla thinks that he can find another team for 2007, after being released from T-Mobile. Sevilla told the Spanish media that he has been negotiating with several teams, but there's nothing concrete yet. Sevilla was one of the earliest victims of Operaci¢n Puerto after it emerged that he had had contact with Dr Fuentes. He had told T-Mobile otherwise, and was suspended by them after they saw the Puerto file. Despite this, Sevilla has never admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. Unibet against Garcia Quesada The soon to be ProTour team Unibet.com is fighting its former rider Carlos Garcia Quesada over an unpaid salary claim. Garcia Quesada was suspended by Unibet for a short period in August after he was linked with Puerto. After the suspension was lifted, the team demanded that he undergo a series of medical and psychological tests. He refused, and as a result, Unibet stopped paying him and did not renew his contract. The Spanish rider claimed that, as a former Comunidad Valenciana rider, he made himself available for blood tests to prove that he wasn't involved in Puerto. He took it to a Spanish court and wants to freeze the team's bank guarantee, worth €532,000, until he gets paid. Unibet says that it is prepared to fight Garcia Quesada in court over the matter. Commentator job for Lelangue Ex-Phonak team manager John Lelangue has a new job as a cycling commentator for French-speaking Belgian TV station RTBF. Lelangue will share the role with Grard Bulens, the current team manager of Landbouwkrediet-Colnago. Lelangue has some experience in commentating, working with RTBF at in the early '90s. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.