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"We promised we would give him a couple of ice lollies [blood bags]."

Photo: Feltet.dk

OPERACION PUERTO

NEWS
06.03.2013 @ 14:32 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

 

Puerto trial: Fuentes panicked over lack of supplies for Basso

 

At the ongoing Operación Puerto trial on Tuesday, in which Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, among others, is charged with crimes against public health, telephone conversations were heard revealing that the doping enterprise’s supply of SAG-Mannitol had dried up, a mixture which conserves red blood cells.

 

According to the conversations, Fuentes was finding it impossible to supply the demand for his services in the 2006 Giro d’Italia. Ivan Basso’s demands, in particular, put Fuentes under considerable pressure. This is in stark contrast to previous claims by the Italian rider that bags containing blood were only to be used at the subsequent Tour de France, from which Basso, then riding for Bjarne Riis’ team CSC, was eventually excluded.

 

In a rather panic stricken phone call, Fuentes could be heard telling haematologist José Merino that he was running out of supplies and that Basso was awaiting the arrival of new quantities.

 

"I need your help. It's hectic," he implored with Merino, according to Cyclingnews.com. "Birillo [Basso's codename] is waiting for us. What should I tell him? That there is nothing to eat? Soon they are in a region where we won't be able to deliver any rolls. It had been anticipated that he would get a sandwich. If there is no sausage, I make him do one with chorizo and cheese. We promised we would give him a couple of ice lollies [blood bags]."

 

Last month in a video conference from Tenerife, Basso confessed he agreed to pay Fuentes close to 70,000 euro in late 2005, in return for a comprehensive doping system prior to the following year's Tour de France. Basso has previously admitted to planning to use illicit drugs and was given a two-year ban in 2007 for his links to the Puerto case.

 

Later Basso admitted to having blood removed three times in late 2005 with the full intention of having it re-infused, but he continues to deny ever having it transfused back into his system. These denials seem incompatible with the phone calls presented at the Madrid court yesterday.

 

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