Belda and Viru deny doping charges
In judicial statements released to AS, Kelme team manager Vicente Belda and former team doctor Walte
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Following last week’s publication of extracts from the testimony delivered by former Kelme doctor Eufemiano Fuentes to investigators looking into allegations of systematic doping within the Spanish team by Jesus Manzano, sports daily AS has printed similar testimony provided to investigators by Kelme directeur sportif Vicente Belda and another former team doctor, Walter Viru. In statements made to the judicial inquiry, both deny Manzano’s allegations of supplying and advising on the use of doping products. Like Fuentes, who suggested that Manzano’s allegations stemmed from documents the rider had taken from the doctor’s sister, also a doctor on the team and apparently at that time being treated for infertility, Belda and Viru suggest that Manzano’s allegations stem largely from totally legitimate documents and prescriptions he took without permission from Kelme’s medical staff. Belda also denies asking for payment from riders for the illegal transport of doping products as was claimed by Manzano. Most of the statement he delivered in July is focused on denigrating Manzano, a rider Belda selected for both the Tour and Vuelta in 2003. AS gives more details about the specific charges of supply of doping products made by Manzano against Viru, who categorically denies providing Manzano with “EPO and blood transfusions for the  Tour” in his statement. When asked about Manzano’s collapse during the first Alpine stage of the 2003 Tour, Viru denies any knowledge at all of the oxyglobin product until reading about it when Manzano first made his allegations public in AS in March this year. Belda says of the incident: “The fainting fit Manzano attributes to doping was the result of heat stroke according to the Tour’s doctors.” Manzano claimed in AS earlier this year that on the morning of the stage to Morzine he had been given an unknown product that initially made him feel incredibly strong but eventually left him struggling for breath after he went away in a break with Richard Virenque, the stage winner that day. Viru states that much of the medical jargon used by Manzano in his paid interview with AS is confused and misused, and suggests that the rider somehow got hold of Viru’s personal notes. “I always keep information like this at my surgery and I didn’t hand them over to Manzano. I believe he took them without my permission during a strength test. When I prescribe a medicine I always do it in medical terminology and on a prescription.” As for Manzano’s allegations of prescribing doping products to riders, Viru declares: “I have never spoken to cyclists about using medical products, although it is true that during big races we try to achieve a placebo effect using vitamins and other restorative compounds.” Viru also denies being involved in giving Manzano a blood transfusion in Valencia after the rider’s abandon from the 2003 Tour, saying that he was in fact in Paris dealing with the recriminations of a positive test for EPO given by another Kelme rider, Pascual Llorente.