By Antonio J. Salmerón
Aitor González, Spanish ex-pro who retired last month, was questioned about cycling's future in an interview published by the Spaniard magazine Interviú. "Now, cycling needs a radical change," said the winner of the 2002 Vuelta a España.
"The cycling collective is not united. If we impose our rules in order to continue competing then the problems would be solved immediately," González said. If the riders had done so in the 1998 Tour de France... "If a pair of stages had not been disputed, and the Tour's organizer had been forced to accede to our requests, but now it is different.
"Doping exists in all the elite sports. If there is money, there will always be people who want to become rich," continued González. Le Monde speculated that football players are also involved in Operación Puerto. "I do not know if they are really implicated in it. Our problem is that cycling is allowed to be put under an enormous amount of controls that are far beyond the ones in football. For that reason it is clear we always give more positives; data that the politicians have used to promote the fight against doping."
Then, what do you think the Operación Puerto? "It has been a theatrical act; a shoddy work. It has been a political manoeuvre. In fact, the process has been shameful. In a selective way, and without having tests, Operación Puerto has left a lot of people in unemployment.
"The journalist decided on who are the sportsmen treated by Eufemiano Fuentes. Eufemiano has a great sport's medicine background. For four years he was my doctor at Kelme. I have always said that he is better psychologist than doctor because he was able to convince us that we could win without using dark tactics. I do not believe that Eufemiano Fuentes gives drugs to the sportsmen.
"Many people do not understand that the cycling is like a disease," continued González. "When you compete, your organism deteriorates, and to be able to maintain healthful analytical values, it is necessary to help the body; that is, a rider who finishes the Tour without any medical aid, finishes it ill; with values of testosterone like a woman; with anaemia and a series of pathological symptoms.
"When I was in Kelme, Fuentes helped me with vitamin complexes. He did not need to give me strange things so that I could win the Vuelta. I have never paid money to Eufemiano, and when I left Kelme, I did not have any relation with him.
"Hopefully many cyclists can speak as clear as me!" Aitor González concluded.
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