Tue, Dec 14, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Spain’s Fuentes not involved in doping ring, lawyer says

Reuters, MADRID

Eufemiano Fuentes is innocent of involvement in the doping ring raided by Spanish police last week in an operation dubbed “Greyhound” that shocked the country, his lawyer said on Sunday.

Fuentes, formerly the doctor for the now defunct Liberty Seguros cycling team, was questioned during Spain’s “Operation Puerto” doping probe that rocked the sport in 2006.

He was one of 14 people taken into custody last week, along with world steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez, and testified before a Madrid judge on Sunday together with five others, including Dominguez’s coach Cesar Perez.

Dominguez, one of Spain’s most popular athletes, has been suspended from her post as a vice president of the country’s athletics federation (RFEA). She was due to testify in the coming days, a court spokesman said.

“He is outside all that,” Fuentes’ lawyer told reporters outside the court in Madrid, adding that his client was practising medicine in Las Palmas “and that’s it.”

Sports doctors, pharmacists, trainers, coaches, agents and athletes were among those detained in Thursday’s raids.

Dominguez is suspected of supplying banned substances to other athletes. Spanish TV showed images of police taking items from her home in Palencia. She has yet to make any public comment.

Fifteen addresses across the country were raided and police found anabolic steroids, bags of blood, hormones and laboratory equipment used for carrying out blood transfusions.

Spanish sport has been hit by a number of high-profile doping scandals in recent years.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador may be stripped of his title and banned from cycling after testing positive for a banned substance during this year’s race.

Spain’s European steeplechase bronze medalist, Jose Luis Blanco, last month denied doping after the RFEA opened an investigation into a failed test.

Dominguez, with her trademark pink headband and matching running shoes, was European Athlete of the Year last year. The 35-year-old announced last month that she would not defend her world title in Daegu, South Korea, next year as she is pregnant for the first time and would shift her focus to preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London.

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