As Operacion Puerto enters its sixth week, here are some of the more memorable quotes to date from Spain’s biggest ever anti-doping trial...
1.Unai Osa (racing in the Giro) and Fuentes, phone conversation: Unai Osa: “Is ‘Little Hands’ going to bring me a yoghurt? Fuentes: “I don’t know if the milk went off at the dairy but the yoghurts have gone bad....it’s a yoghurt that lasts a long time and which you don’t have to put in the fridge. You can eat it one day and the next and the day after your stomach is full.” Osa: “A little yoghurt right now would be great.”
2. Fuentes, phone conversation from May 2006, when he suspected - but did not know - that his phone was being tapped. “First I want to say hello to everybody who’s listening in. This is an audio taping test that two friends are testing to see if somebody picks up on this story and then somebody wants to play some kind of joke on us. This is a joke. But, just as a joke, the yoghurt has to be diluted in half a litre of serum.”
3. Serrano: "I didn't know where Doctor Fuentes was, but I needed a doctor who knew Italian...I'm sure that the only reason Clara [his wife] sent an sms to Fuentes was to have him as a translator." Marcos Serrano's explanation why he contacted Fuentes via his wife from an Italian hospital during the 2006 Giro d'Italia, when he fell ill.
4. José Antonio Escuredo, Olympic silver medallist in 2004 and Spanish national trainer, explaining his phone conversations with Fuentes: “I asked him for advice and for melatonin, a sleeping pill, that isn’t available in Spain. I was going to Japan and I needed it [for the jetlag], but it’s not a doping product.”
5. Journalist: “Can I ask you something, Mr. Fuentes?” Fuentes: “Can I ask you something? Where can I get a taxi?” Fuentes on the first day of the trial showing he knows how to keep his cool when confronted with a vast press pack.
6. Journalist: “What do the symbols RSOC refer to?” Fuentes: “No idea. Maybe a nice type of wine.” Fuentes dodges the question of whether - as is widely thought - the letters RSOC in one of his doping programs refer to one of Spain’s top football teams.
7. Jörg Jaksche when asked to clarify his performance in the 2006 Tour de Suisse. "I said it wasn’t a race, more of a club championships. He asked me to clarify what I meant. So I said ‘yes, it was a club championship. The winner of the race was Jan Ullrich, a client of Fuentes, second was Koldo Gil, a client of Fuentes, third was me, fourth was Vicioso, another Fuentes client, sixth was Fränk Schleck’. Everyone in the court, even the judge was laughing. It was ridiculous.”
8. Fuentes, phone conversation to ‘laboratory co-director’ Merino Batres concerning Ivan Basso in the 2006 Giro: “I’ve got to sort this out, because at the end of the day, I’m the one who’s responsible. ‘Birillo’ [Ivan Basso] is waiting... and what should I say to ‘Birillo’? That there’s no food. Things are getting out of hand and he’s in a place where it’s impossible to take him sandwiches. We’d been planning for months to take him a sandwich this weekend. If there’s no sausage, I’ll give him chorizo or cheese. We had promised him a couple of ice lollies [blood bags].”
9. Fuentes, on the third day of the trial, to the presiding judge: “If you ask me, I will identify all the codes of all the bags of my clients.” Judge’s response: “No, I will not ask you. In that instance the right of the defence not to answer prevails, and I’m not gong to ask you to do it.” Arguably what could have been (but wasn’t) the crunch moment of the trial so far: Fuentes says he knows exactly whom the 223 bags of blood - of which 51 have not been located - belong to. The judge says it will not be necessary to reveal that.
10. "The worst reaction I had was in 2004 when I had a re-infusion during the 2004 Tour de France and as far as I could tell all of the blood wasn't stored properly," Hamilton said. "The reason why I knew that 30 or 40 minutes later when I went to the bathroom, my urine was black." Tyler Hamilton reveals to the Madrid court how he fell ill after a re-infusion.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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