Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has called for those involved in the ongoing Puerto trial in Madrid to reveal details of athletes and sports outside cycling that are implicated in the blood doping case. Speaking at the launch of the Paris-Nice route, Prudhomme said the trial would be “a farce” if “all of the cheats” weren’t named.
"If this case is doing anything it’s to make us realise that cycling wasn’t the only sport involved in Operación Puerto. Up to now, we’ve known the names of the cyclists implicated, but not those of athletes from other sports and it could be that we will never know,” said Prudhomme. “It would be a shame if in the end not all of the truth comes out in the trial."
The Tour director acknowledged that cycling had made mistakes and needed to be cleaned up, but pointed out that only small part of the truth about the Puerto affair has emerged up to now. “It would be a shame if the full truth didn’t come out during the process,” he said.
Prudhomme said, "All the cheats and all the liars weren’t simply gathered in the sport of cycling. A barrier wasn’t raised between cycling and other sports when it came to certain products… If all the disciplines are treated with equality, then we will be satisfied.”
His comments came just a day after French cycling federation (FFC) president David Lappartient branded the Puerto trial a “veritable farce”. Lappartient suggested that a major cover-up was taking place in order to protect the names of high-profile Spanish athletes in other sports.
“One of the accused [Eufemiano Fuentes] was ready to provide names and he wasn’t asked to do so. There is no doubt that very high-level protection in being provided, notably at government level,” claimed the FFC president.
Five defendants – Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, Dr Yolanda Fuentes, Manolo Saiz, Vicente Belda and José Ignacio Labarta – are facing a charge of a crime against public health in the Puerto trial. It recommences on Monday, when Ivan Basso, Marcos Serrano and Jörg Jaksche will be among those giving evidence.