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Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Doctor in cycling probe says he's treated other athletes

Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- The doctor at the center of a cycling doping investigation says he has also treated athletes in soccer, tennis and track and field.

But Eufemiano Fuentes suggested he didn't believe such treatment could be considered doping. The Spanish government said Tuesday no tennis or soccer players were involved.

"I'm referring to treatments to aid recovery, biological treatments to improve athletic performance," Fuentes said in a radio interview Tuesday night. "They work."

A Civil Guard police report on the investigation includes the names of more than 50 cyclists, some of whom were forced to withdraw before Saturday's start of the Tour de France. They included favorites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo.

"Names of cyclists have appeared, but there are other sports as well, such as athletics, tennis or soccer, to mention a few sports," Fuentes told Cadena SER radio. "I either performed the treatments or recommended them."

He stressed that he had worked with soccer teams from the first and second divisions of the Spanish league.

Five people, including Fuentes, were arrested and charged provisionally in May when police seized drugs and frozen blood at a Madrid clinic. The samples were thought to have been prepared for performance-enhancing transfusions.

Two Spanish cycling teams -- Liberty Seguros, which later changed its name to Astana-Wurth, and Comunidad Valenciana -- have been implicated.

Fuentes and another doctor, Jose Merino Batres, face provisional charges of crimes against public health. Both say they are innocent.

Athletes allegedly went to the clinic to have blood extracted for doping or to collect performance-enhancing drugs. Nearly 100 bags of frozen blood and equipment for treating blood were found, along with documents on doping procedures performed on cyclists.

Fuentes said there has been a selective leak of names, adding he did not know all those mentioned in the media. He refused to give names, citing confidentiality as a doctor.

"I'm very angry about the whole thing," he said.