Besides Jan Ullrich, what is the German connection to Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes? German anti-doping crusader, Professor Werner Franke, told www.sport1.de the connection goes deeper than previously suspected. Without naming names, he said three German hospitals have links with the Spanish doctor.
According to Die Welt am Sonntag, Fuentes obtained certain medications not available in Spain from hospitals in France and Germany. The magazine specifically named the drug Synacthen, a hormone "which could have fatal results for asthmatics like Jan Ullrich, who used it anyway," it said.
According to Franke, this is a drug normally used to treat those suffering from multiple sclerosis and has many side effects. Die Welt alleged that Fuentes' co-worker Ignacio Labarta was responsible for obtaining these drugs for him.
The magazine doesn't know exactly where Labarta went shopping, but says that investigators are concentrating on a small town in Baden-Würtemberg, Germany, and the first arrests are expected soon. Franke claims to know the three hospitals in question, but didn't identify them. "Naturally I don't want to interfere with a quick police action," he said, adding the University Clinic in Freiburg, which tends the T-Mobile riders, was not involved.
Die Welt alleged there is even more to the German connection: there is a reference to an "apartment in Germany" in the Spanish investigation known as Operación Puerto, and the magazine claims that Fuentes had a chain of branch offices throughout Europe.
"If a customer had blood taken one time in Madrid, then he would not have to go the Spanish capital again for transfusions, but could go to an affiliate if he wanted," it said. "Fuentes' co-workers in countries such as Germany, France or Italy could independently take care of drawing the blood and re-transfusing the - in the meantime cooled - own blood. Even during stage races."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto