The Spanish cyclist Jesús Manzano has given evidence in the trial of the suspected doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, saying that he was given dog, cattle and horse medicines to the point that the doctor told him: "some days you are barking and other days you are mooing”.
In the Operation Puerto trial into a doping ring operated by Fuentes and others, involving banned substances and blood transfusions, Manzano told the court that the doctor filled his Porsche with blood bags hidden in wine casks, then distributed them around the team hotels to be reinfused.
Fuentes, his sister Yolanda and three others have been charged with endangering public health.
While Manzano was riding with Kelme in 2000, 2001 and 2003, he said Fuentes treated him with EPO, as he did all the riders in the team, except Juan Miguel Cuenca.
Other drugs used were cortisone, human chorionic gonadotropin (a pregnancy hormone), AndroGel testosterone patches , the stimulant Synacthen and Actovegin, a drug derived from calf blood.
According to the Guardian, Manzano also implicated two others who are also facing trial, Kelme team manager Vicente Belda and trainer Jose Ignacio Labarta.
He said: “The medical planning was done by Eufemiano,” he said. “The training by Labarta. They always coordinated with Belda.
“In 2001, Belda came to my room saying he would give me 'a little something to soup up my engine’. It was EPO. Fuentes and Labarta were there. If you didn’t take it they would expel you from the team.
“I took the medication because it was compulsory in the team. I never did it voluntarily. If I report them here [in Spain], I am sacked. If I did it in France, then all of Kelme would go to jail.”
Manzano also blamed his collapse on the first mountain stage of the 2003 Tour de France on Fuentes.
“I injected 50ml of Oxyglobin,” Manzano said. “It was the day of my weakness.
“I had taken Oxyglobin intravenously, a haemoglobin for dogs, and Belda and Labarta knew,” he said. “I attacked [French rider] Richard Virenque on a stage and I began to feel progressively worse until I fainted. In the team they asked me to not say what I had taken nor to do a test because it was in France and we would all go to jail.”
When he accused the team of endagering his health, he said, he was expelled. It was not, he said, because he was found with a woman in a hotel room.
A UCI expert, Olaf Schumacher, also told the court that the practices used by Fuentes could endanger human life.
He said that mix-ups in transportation could put riders at risk of HIV/Aids, organ failure and even death. He was particularly shocked at revelations that Fuentes carried around blood bags in a 'picnic bag'.
He said that although most risks from transfusions came within 24 hours, longer term risks like HIV could come to fruition many years later.
The Spanish Civil Guard uncovered 200 bags of blood and plasma when it raided Fuentes' premises in 2006. The defendants have all pleaded not guilty.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.