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Ex-Xacobeo doctor launches attack on Pino

The Xacobeo Galicia team director Álvaro Pino responds to reporters' questions.

The Xacobeo Galicia team director Álvaro Pino responds to reporters' questions. (Image credit: Xacobeo Galicia)

Former Xacobeo-Galicia team doctor Juan Manuel Rodríguez Bastida has made a fierce attack on the team's manager, Alvaro Pino, accusing Pino of "only being able to understand cycling with doping". The doctor was released by the team last year and is launching legal action to obtain payment of wages he says he has not received from the Spanish Professional Continental squad.

Rodríguez Bastida said his tenure with the team ended during last year's Vuelta a España, but he has never been told why. "They replaced me with [Colombian doctor] Alberto Beltrán, but nobody ever gave me an explanation. They didn't sack me or terminate my contract. It was simply as if I didn't exist for them any more," he told AS.

Rodríguez Bastida claims that Pino contacted Beltrán during last year's Tour of Portugal, where he was working with the Liberty Seguros team. Beltrán was subsequently taken on to work with the Xacobeo riders at the Vuelta, but was released from his post when news came out that three riders Liberty Seguros riders had tested positive for EPO CERA at the Tour of Portugal.

"Those riders said that [Beltrán] had supplied them with the product. I started the Vuelta with the team although I knew then that they did not want me there. I am a victim for not permitting doping practices. They threw me out of the team and replaced me with a doper who had been arrested in Italy for possessing banned products, who was known by everyone for his murky past and had to flee from our country," said Rodríguez Bastida.

Speaking about Pino, Rodríguez Bastida declared: "He can only understand cycling with doping... He is not concerned with the problems the sport has or take measures to ensure its regeneration." Asked if he himself had doped any riders, Rodríguez Bastida replied: "No, I've never resorted to doping. I never saw anyone doping themselves when I was with the team, and I didn't hear of anything out of place going on."

Rodríguez Bastida's legal action is set to be answered by one from the Galician Cycling Foundation, which is connected to the Xacobeo team. They have announced their intention to sue Rodríguez Bastida for "his unfounded, inflammatory words".

Meanwhile, Xacobeo's riders have responded to the story with a press release. In it they point out that "since our racing debut in 2007 there has not been a single positive test in our team. Nobody connected with Xacobeo-Galicia has ever encouraged us to undertake doping, nor have we seen signs that anyone uses banned substances. The guiding principle of the team's management is zero tolerance to doping and our team has always stuck rigorously to this philosophy."

The release was signed by Ezequiel Mosquera, David García, Carlos Castaño, Gustavo Domínguez, Gustavo César Veloso, Serafín Martínez, Gonzalo Rabuñal, Alberto Fernández, Marcos García, Vladimir Isaychev, and Delio Fernández.