Doping: Hamilton points finger at Fuentes in Puerto trial

Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:45pm EST
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By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - American cyclist Tyler Hamilton described in detail on Tuesday how the doctor at the center of the Operation Puerto trial oversaw his program of blood doping and supplied him with banned substances including EPO.

Speaking through an interpreter by video link from the Spanish embassy in Washington, Hamilton spoke for almost three hours about his time as a patient of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes between 2002-04 when the rider paid him as much as 110,000 euros ($146,900) for his services.

Hamilton, 41, who came clean about his doping past in an award-winning book 'The Secret Race', said he met Fuentes, who denies involvement in doping, at a clinic or in apartments in Madrid and Monaco and in "many, many hotel rooms" and the pair spoke and sent text messages using "secret phones".

With Fuentes watching him on a large-screen television, the American told the court in Madrid his first blood transfusion under the doctor's direction was in March 2002 and he said he had met him "probably 15 times", each time having blood extracted or reinjected.

Their relationship ended in September 2004 when traces of someone else's blood was found in one of Hamilton's samples and the rider was suspended for two years, he added.

Last August the American was stripped of the time-trial gold medal he won at the 2004 Athens Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"Yeah he (Fuentes) gave me a calendar with a schedule of races, a schedule of when to take what performance-enhancing drug and if I remember right he gave me EPO (erythropoietin)," Hamilton told the court.

"He offered me EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, insulin, I think that's it," added the American who was wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and striped tie. "My biggest fear was something like this (trial) would happen."   Continued...

Former cyclist Tyler Hamilton of the U.S. is seen on a TV screen as he testifies through video conference from the Spanish Embassy in Washington, during the high-profile Operacion Puerto doping trial in Madrid February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez