El Pais has reported that former Kelme rider turned doping whistle-blower Jesus Manzano helped Spani
Manzano spoke of his dealings with Fuentes – Kelme team doctor from 2000 to 2003 – in an interrogation by Italian judge Raffaele Guariniello in April 2004. A month earlier, Manzano had described his rampant drug-use while riding for Kelme, casting suspicion on the team’s management and medical staff. Also on Sunday, UCI president Pat McQuaid reiterated his organisation’s concern at the arrests and their willingness to collaborate with Spanish investigators. McQuaid hinted earlier this week that the UCI could help the Guardia Civil to identify frozen blood allegedly seized from Fuentes with DNA testing. McQuaid said in Milan that the UCI had so far received no formal request for assistance from the Spanish authorities. The UCI chief and ProTour manager Alain Rumpf added that they were awaiting further information from Spain before deciding what action can be taken against Saiz, his team and any implicated riders. McQuaid said that Saiz couldn’t be fired from his position as a member of the UCI ProTour advisory board “purely on the basis of newspaper reports”. “We have to let justice run its course but if Manolo was found guilty then of course he’d have to go,” McQuaid said. Asked whether Saiz’s team’s ProTour licence could be revoked on ethical grounds, Rumpf said that decision could only be made by the ProTour licence commission. For the moment, Saiz is free to fight for his team’s survival as the investigation progresses. Team spokesman Jacinto Vidarte said on Saturday that the team still intends to compete in the Bicicleta Vasca and the Dauphin Libr in June. Vidarte said that Liberty Seguros had agreed to pay the riders’ salaries throughout 2006, but that its corporate logo would obviously no longer appear on the team’s jerseys after the Giro. The team’s second sponsor Wurth – which apparently contributes just under a quarter of the team’s $8.5 million annual budget – is poised to reveal whether or not it will sever ties with the team on Monday. All five individuals arrested on suspicion of doping offences last Monday have now been released. Madrid Centre for Transfusions director Jos Luis Merino Batres and Eufemiano Fuentes were allowed to leave custody after posting bail of 120,000-euros bail on Saturday. A Madrid judge had earlier released Comunidad Valenciana directeur sportif Jose Ignacio Labarta and mountain bike rider Alberto Leon on condition they would keep themselves available for further questioning – as Saiz had been on Wednesday.