Shane Stokes has a story up on CyclingNews about the arrest of former Kelme doctor Walter Viru.This arrest helps to validate Jesus Manzano's story about Viru receiving a tipoff in advance of doping tests. But if Manzano was telling the truth about Kelme, what does that say about institutionalized doping at US Postal/Discovery? See Jean Issartel's story below, translated from the original l'Equipe story from June 5th, 2007:
He became a gardener but on this occasion Jesus Manzano is collaborating with the Italian justice Dept. Tomorrow he'll go to Rome to help the judge who is investigating Basso to decode the medical prescriptions and to recognize the doping products. Jesus Manzano, the ex-cyclist of Kelme is an expert. In 2004, he admitted that he took drugs during his entire career and he almost died because of it. The Spanish Justice buried his story but the investigation of the Spanish Police has revealed one of the biggest scandals in the history of cycling. Manzano has still things to say about it....
"Are you feeling a little pride about the effects that your statements are having?"
-I'm just telling my story to the paper, AS. I was the first but others confirmed. Dario Gadeo (an ex-cyclist of the Paternina team) and probably others without any fanfare. The problem was that the first judge who came to interrogate me was Italian was Guariniello and not Spanish. More sadly, the Spanish Judge despite everything I told him, didn't think there was anything to investigate more or less ditto for the Spanish cycling federation. A la fede, I gave them viles of epo with prescriptions, with all the proof to confront everyone. But they deem it worth pursing.
"You seem disappointed. Though you're collaborating with Italian authorities and you're only waiting a call from the L'AMA to make yourself available to them..."
- I will continue the fight if it will serve a purpose. It Italy, France and Germany, things change. In Spain I prefer to let it go. Here, nothing's changed. I'm tired. I don't have any faith in the (Spanish) authority. I remember during the Vuelta 2003, Fuentes arrived at our hotel driving a porsche with thermoses of epo on the passenger seats without hiding them. At the same time, at the Giro or the Tour, we were already being careful.
"Why were you being so careful?"
-They called someone who wasn't part of the team to transport the products. In France it was a nurse her nickname was Paloma Blanca. They paid her 27,000 euros to do this. Each cyclist paid 3,000 each. She transported epo, testosterone, the synthetic hemogloblin (veterinarian) from hotel to hotel. She was and still is the fiancee of a mechanic who is working for Caisse d'epargne team. Everyone throughout cyclist knows this story. I gave all the proof and said everything but there's too much pressure and probably too much money and too much money to loose. And so the truth is everyone in Spain is still doing this.
"How can that be?"
-Belda is working for a team and Fuentes and I can guarantee that he'll begin again on a smaller scale. He's still helping athletes recuperate from their efforts. Why wouldn't he still be doing what he was doing before? He's free, the justice didn't sentence him for what he did even though he had proof.
"Manolo Saiz, one of the managers in the pelotons, isn't influencing anyone anymore...."
-Don't dream, he'll come back. For the moment, he's occupied with recuperating his money. He'll be back. After that, he'll let the time go by and then he'll begin again to get new sponsors. These new sponsors will ignore who he is and look the other way. In general, don't kid yourself because they fired one or two sporting directors. Jose Miguel Echavarri (who was the former director of Indurain's Banesto is now the owner of Caisse d'Epargne.) He has explained that his cyclist Valverde is clean. I must be dreaming! Valverde was with Kelme and he was the only one not doing anything wrong....he's in it knee deep with Fuentes. And Echavarri says that he doesn't know anything and he's never seen anything but I know that he personally brought Zaballa to Fuentes. And Jose Maria Jiminez didn't know anything was going on either? So then I'm affirming to you that the world of cycling in Spain is completely corrupt. From top to bottom it goes.
"What exactly are you talking about?"
-I want to give you an example, something I've never spoken about except to the police up until now. It concerns one of the four Spanish Laboratories credited by the UCI. This laboratory who is in charge of sending the "UCI" vampires (doctors)to take the samples during the Vuelta and other races is the same lab that's in charge of the doctor visits to the cyclists, they follow the cyclists and give them the stamp of approval on their licenses. The owner of this clinic, a renowned hemotologist, called Walter Viru, who is one of the doctors for Kelme to alert them the day before the uci vampires were coming to take the samples from the cyclist. And he did the same thing with Del Moral, the doctor for the U.S. Postal team and then Discovery, a good friend of his.
"Are you certain about what you're setting forth here?"
-I experienced it in 2002 and 2003 during the Tour de Spain. I gave the police have all the details and the name of the clinic. Even better I remember one time Viru who acquired the russian epo wanted to know the purity of it before he used it. And so he gave a vile of it to this clinic and had them confirm it was good. An important detail, this laboratory is still accredited by the UCI. When I talk about the mafia, I don't use this word lightly.
"You mentioned Jose Maria Jiminez, el Chava, who died in 2003 from a heartattack. Was it the drugs that killed him?"
-Of course, like it killed Pantani. The drugs lead you to other addictions. The anti-depressants almost automatically accompany other doping treatments. I took up to 8 pills of prozac a day when I was racing.
-Prozac cuts the appetite, keeps you in another world, a world where you're not afraid of what you're doing. You're no longer afraid to inject yourself with all the crap. It takes you to a world where you don't ask any more questions especially you don't ask your doctor questions either or your sporting director. Then there are periods where you must stop doping you feel like superman. Then one day all of the sudden it stops and you become dramatically depressed. Look at Pantani, Vandenbroucke and all the others we don't even talk about. They are numerous other cyclists and former cyclists that are addicted to cocaine, heroin and other medications. It's not just in the world of cycling.
"What did you have that El Chava didn't that kept you from falling into a depression?"
-I wasn't a professional cyclist for so long. El Chava stayed 13, 14 yearswith his team and I stayed 5 years. and frankly if I stayed 3 more years, I'd be dead from it. I knew Pantani and I knew him well. In 2002 and 2004 he came to work for Clarvoyrl and we rode together and we partied together. Too many years in the business and unfortunately more to follow.
"What's the solution?"
-Fire all the sporting directors. Riis is showing the example. It's good that he admitted now that he has to make the next step which is to quit the sport. How can he be taken credible? He's admitted to doping and now he wants us to believe he's going to go back to cycling and this is supposed to make us believe drugs won't be used anymore? There's only one solution: he must leave! And along with him all the sporting directors who have been working for the past 10 years have to quit also. They're the responsible ones. The directors are the ones who blackmail the cyclists they put pressure on the riders to take the epo and all the drugs and the cyclists can't refuse if they want to ride for the team. These directors are the ones who prolong the system and little by little pressure the pros into it. First you go slowly, then you fall slowly then you realize you've thrown everything away. They say to you "here's your choice: you do want we say or you're done cycling."
"How do you explain you never tested positive?"
-I told you about the clinic that fudged everything. There is a red powder that's made in an illegal lab just for them outside of any controls which destroys the urine sample. This powder comes in the form of a grain of rice that we put into our penis before we pee. The russian epo caused my teammates to be caught.
"What do you think of cycling today?
-It was my dream, my life. Today I'm completely indifferent to it. How could it be otherwise? When I see Valverde, Mancebo or Sevilla win I know what's going on. And that kills my love for the sport. Cycling is corrupt. You can see that on the side of the roads there's nobody left cheering on the cyclists except for the Tour. Even the cows aren't duped.
You know that old box of bike parts you've put in your closet?
Recorded inside the press room at Grenoble Velodrome, we bring you Episode #8 of the Insider from the 2011 Tour de France, our final podcast.
Recorded 1,850 metres above sea level atop the famed Alpe d'Huez, we bring you Episode #7 of the Insider podcast from the 2011 Tour de France.