Latest: Puerto; Van Huffel; Cunego; Mattan
Jes£s Manzano has supported Le Monde’s report that Dr Fuentes treated Spanish football clubs. In oth
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Manzano backs Le Monde’s claims Former Kelme rider Jes£s Manzano has supported claims made by French newspaper Le Monde that Eufemiano Fuentes worked with several Spanish football clubs, including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Manzano told French television that he had not been asked to testify in Operaci¢n Puerto, but he was prepared to do so. “I will tell everything I know, that there were football players among the clients of Fuentes,” said Manzano. On the other hand, Eufemiano Fuentes has backed away from his comments reported by Le Monde, saying that the accusations ” . appear to me to be too serious, and I deny them.” Fuentes, who has received several death threats, said that he would not give names of athletes or teams that he treated. All of the football clubs named by the Le Monde report have also strongly denied having anything to do with the Canary Islands based doctor. In addition to Real Madrid and Barca, FC Valencia and Sevilla were also linked to Fuentes. The four clubs have issued statements denying any involvement, with some threatening legal action over the report. The allegations weren’t covered widely in the English speaking press. Procycling’s editor Pete Cossins has a comment about that in his latest blog. Contador and Hernandez testify The first two cyclists to be questioned in Operaci¢n Puerto did so on Monday in Madrid. Alberto Contador and Jes£s Hern ndez were asked three questions by judge Antonio Serrano, each spending about 10 minutes in court. The same questions will be put to all 58 cyclists who have been linked in any way in the affair. 1) What is or was the rider’s relationship with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, Jos Luis Merino Batres, Manolo Saiz, Jos Ignacio Labarta, Vicente Belda? 2) What treatments did the rider receive? 3) Did the rider suffer from health problems following the treatments? Although the cyclists are being treated as witnesses by the judge, he did not discount that the evidence could be used elsewhere for a possible sanction – after the investigation has finished. Thus, if any of the riders admits to using drugs, they could face a two year ban at some stage in the future. According to AS, both Contador and Hern ndez denied ever receiving drugs while in Liberty Seguros or Astan . Hern ndez also denied knowing Dr Fuentes and Dr Merino, while Contador distanced himself from Manolo Saiz. The story was slightly different in El Pais, which had a lengthy article reporting on the statements given by the two riders. El Pais quoted Hern ndez as saying, “Manolo Saiz was the one who controlled everything”, adding that each night, he would receive recovery products such as p11, folic acid, iron, and “heat patches that we put on each night for occasional pain. Generally we asked for them individually, unless the director saw we were very bad. And at times, Manolo Saiz was the one who told that we should be administered them. If the stage finished on a mountain, they put the patch on to prevent cramps.” El Pais alleges that based on the investigations of the Guardia Civil, the heat patches were actually testosterone patches. These could provide a slow release of testosterone that aided recovery but was insufficient to make a rider test positive. Alberto Contador said that he never received any patches, and his medical treatment was limited to vitamin tablets that he bought himself or were supplied by the team. “And, like many, if I was ever anaemic they injected me with vitamin B12,” said Contador. Both Hern ndez and Contador denied ever transfusing blood, and neither felt as though their health suffered while at Liberty Seguros. Van Huffel reacts to Peiper’s statements Wim Van Huffel has reacted to outgoing Davitamon-Lotto sports director Alan Peiper’s comments about living for his job. Peiper criticised Van Huffel, and several other members of the team, for their fondness of drink. “Alan Peiper made problems about the first glass of beer,” said a defensive Van Huffel to Sporza. “We are Belgians. Apparently Australians seem to have a different mentality. Just because Alan lives like a monk doesn’t mean that we should do the same. “Every time we went to a stage race with Alan he made problems about the alcohol. As if one beer is the biggest poison. Even if it’s two or three beers, it doesn’t matter. Alan thinks it’s exaggeration, I don’t know what’s wrong with it. “Herman Frison or Hendrik Redant (the other directors) never made a problem about it. In the Tour of Germany, in the bus, Alan Peiper started again about the beers we drank the evening before. I left the bus and the others reacted too. “Now it sounds as if we’re drinking every evening. That’s not true. We know what we have to do ourselves too. I drank a beer before the prologue in the Dauphin, indeed. But not on the day itself, but the day before.” Cunego renews until 2009 Damiano Cunego has extended his contract with Lampre-Fondital until 2009, the team has announced. There was a lot of interest in Cunego from several top teams, but the winner of the white jersey in the 2006 Tour de France chose to stay with Lampre. Cunego signed the contract during the team’s training camp in Boario Terme, with Mario Galbusera, Lampre’s president, and Silvestro Niboli, Fondital’s president, both present. “I had no doubt,” said Cunego. “I’m glad to extend the contract with Lampre-Fondital, because of the trust and the reliability of the team. I appreciated the enthusiasm of the Galbusera family, of the Niboli family, and of the other sponsors. I hope I can give them great satisfaction.” Mattan to DFL-Cyclingnews.com Colourful Belgian rider Nico Mattan is set to sign for British pro continental team DFL-Cyclingnews.com. “I have not yet signed, but that is just a formality,” Mattan told Sporza. “We have a provisional contract and for me that is the same as a signed contract. “I want to go full out for one more year. I had other offers, but this seemed to be my best choice. I can choose my own program. The motivation is still there and I can help bring up the young guys in the team a bit.” Team director Eric Vanderaerden confirmed the acquisition: “We have a deal for one season,” said Vanderaerden. “We are only waiting for the signature of the manager, who has to come from England this week. On Friday, the transfer market will be ostensibly closed. Mattan rode for ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto this year, but will now step down a division. Vanderaerden doesn’t see that as a problem. “But we will race nearly everything that isn’t in the ProTour, such as the Omloop Het Volk,” he said. “And who knows, Mattan might get us an invitation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen. He can get top 15 there. Only I’m not sure if we can do something in the Ronde.” “Mattan can ride a season without stress and enjoy himself. At the same time, he can help our young riders on their way.” Vanderaerden said that the team may get “two Colombians via the American co-sponsor.” He also hopes that Finnish talent Jukka Vastaranta (Rabobank) will join the squad.