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Doping probe doctor treated other sportsmen

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, July 5 (Reuters) The doctor at the centre of the Spanish doping investigation has said he treated footballers, athletes and tennis players as well as cyclists.

However, Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who was held for questioning by police in May, denied that his methods could be classed as doping.

Fuentes's declarations come in stark contrast to a statement released by the Spanish government yesterday that said no footballers or tennis players were implicated in the investigation.

''I'm angry about the whole matter,'' Fuentes told the Cadena Ser radio station today.

''Names have appeared of people that I don't even know and there are others that haven't come out and I've no idea why but my professional oath forbids me from revealing their names.

''Treatment only for cyclists? I'm also indignant about that.

I've worked with other sports, like athletics, tennis and football.

There are a lot of names that haven't come out, there has been only selective leaks. I don't know why.

''I've worked with Spanish football teams from the first and second divisions that have improved their performance. If I haven't carried out the treatment myself I have recommended it to them.'' RAIDED ADDRESSES The investigation came to light when the Spanish Civil Guard raided a number of addresses in Madrid and Zaragoza in late May and found large quantities of anabolic steroids, laboratory equipment used for blood transfusions and more than 100 bags of frozen blood.

Fuentes, the sporting director of the former Liberty Seguros team Manolo Saiz and the assistant director of the Comunidad Valenciana team Jose Ignacio Labarta were among those questioned by the police.

Their report on the investigation included the names of over 50 professional cyclists, prompting several teams to withdraw leading riders from this year's Tour de France, including pre-race favourites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said afterwards that footballers, tennis players and athletes were also on the list.

Fuentes denied that the methods he used could be classed as doping, but admitted that he was unlikely to continue treating sportsmen in the future.

''They are biological treatments to help the recovery of sportsmen. You cannot manipulate the blood. You can take it out because there may be health problems or problems with its regulation.

''You can replace it if the life of the sportsman is in danger or maybe not. My aim is to care for my patients.'' ''You feel bad because you know that you have not committed any crime. I know that my credibility has been so damaged by this that it will be difficult to carry on in sports medicine, but I have other plans in my life.'' REUTERS PDS ND1412

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