Saturday, July 28, 2007

But Le Monde after Contador

Just as things were quieting down with Juan Mauricio Soler, Le Monde decided this afternoon to stir the pot (not to use a different word) about Alberto Contador. In a story by Stéphane Mandard titled, "Alberto Contador, Yellow Jersey and miracle boy of 'Operation Puerto'," the paper reports:

The Tour organizers had advised that riders "cited" in the Puerto dossier ought not be able to start the Tour. It was this principle which led to excluding German Jan Ullrich and Italian Ivan Basso in 2006. "In no case could Contador's name be linked to Mr. Fuentes' clientele," said the head of the Tour, Patrice Clerc, Thursday July 26, in justifying the Spaniard's having taking over the Yellow Jersey.

Besides hundreds of pouches of blood, the Civil Guard seized, in the Spring of 2006, numerous documents in which the doctor had recorded treatments and other indications for his numerous "clients." According to our sources, the name of Alberto Contador appears in several places in these documents. And, contrary to what Patrice Clerc has claimed, Contador is not merely incidentally "cited in the context of telephone conversations about the results of races." . . .

According to the Civil Guard, these documents correspond to planning the 2005 season for the Liberty-Seguros team. It was in January 2005 that Alberto Contador returned to competition after his brain operation in the spring of 2004. . . . As distinct from Roberto Heras or Joseba Beloki, the investigative report did not reveal annotations mentioning doping products in relation to Alberto Contador's name. Gianpaolo Caruso's case, however, is similar to Contador's. But, if the Spanish federation did not decide to pursue its rider, the antidoping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) asked for a two-year suspension against Gianpaolo Caruso. "It is completely abnormal that Contador can continue to race without being troubled by Operation Puerto while CONI asked for a two-year suspension for Caruso. There was nothing more in the file against Caruso than against Contador," declared Jörg Jaksche, the Spaniard's former teammate on Liberty-Seguros, to Le Monde.

The German rider created a sensation before the start of the Tour by admitting publicly that he had doped with Dr. Fuentes' help of while he raced for the Spanish team. [He] explained that he had spent twenty hours recounting his life as a doping cyclist to his country's federal police, Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 and 26.

Alberto Contador, for his part, was questioned for scarcely ten minutes in December 2006 by the magistrate in charge of the Puerto file. The rider declared to Judge Antonio Serrano that he did not know Eufemanio Fuentes. He also refused to undergo the taking of a DNA sample which would have made it possible to verify whether certain pouches of blood found in the apartments used by Dr. Fuentes for administering autotransfusions were destined for him.