Jan Ullrich's former manager and long-time adviser Rudy Pevenage has admitted knowing Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor whose clinic was raided last year, launching the long-running doping investigation known as Operación Puerto. In an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung today, the Belgian expressed his disappointment in being pushed out of the sport because of the negative press, pointing out that "half the field knows Fuentes."
Pevenage complained that the Germans were spending so much time focusing on doping to the exclusion of actual race coverage, something that doesn't happen so much in his home country. "We also have our share of doping stories with Museeuw and Vandenbroucke, but people still love cycling."
The resident of Geraardsbergen was fired from T-Mobile after the scandal, did not make the 30 kilometre trek to the finish in Gent, saying that he has "practically have no contacts to the peloton anymore." But he did reveal that many of the riders he knew were familiar with Fuentes, pointing out that Alejandro Valverde rode for Kelme where Fuentes was a team doctor.
Pevenage indicated that Fuentes' contact with cycling went back a long way, saying, "I knew him from the days when I was still racing." However, he would not go so far as to say who Fuentes actually worked with recently, cautioning that "now I have to be careful what I am saying."
Having spent his whole life in cycling he admitted that it is hard to do something else. But while he could see some benefit of talking to younger riders about the subject, he sees no point in joining the string of recent doping admissions. "So many people [have] already talked and if I say something now then I will just face lawsuits left and right."
No longer representing Jan Ullrich, Pevenage expressed his regret that the German rider's reputation was ruined, and revealed that he has no longer has much contact with his former protégé. "We phone each other regularly, but less often than before. We don't have much to say to each other anymore."