Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes is a name that will be forever linked with doping in Spanish sport. A treasure trove of intelligence, amassed by the country’s most diligent investigators in 2006, revealed the extent to which he had doped the world’s elite cyclists from Tyler Hamilton to Jan Ullrich. Despite numerous court cases, mystery still surrounds Fuentes known involvement in other sports.
Yet as of last month, hope still remains that the names of more Fuentes’ clients will be revealed.
The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA ) has now been in possession of 211 blood bags, belonging to 36 of Fuentes’ clients for exactly one year. Despite having analysed the blood and DNA from these bags, WADA is yet to release their names because of the legal ramifications of doing so. The statute of limitations to punish these athletes expired in 2014, leaving WADA searching for legal ground to shame them publically.
However in mid-May, WADA was urged to continue in its quest to do so. The WADA Executive Committee, at a meeting in Montreal, Canada, encouraged the anti-doping organisation “to continue pursuing all possible legal and other options with the aim to seek justice” on behalf of clean athletes.
The lead investigator in Operacion Puerto, the Guardia Civil investigation into Fuentes, believes there is only one way to proceed.
Enrique Gomez Bastida, a shining light in the fight against doping in Spain and former head of AEPSAD, the Spanish anti-doping agency, knows the case better than any other.
The Guardia Civil’s surveillance of Fuentes, up until his arrest, including wiretappings, was largely undertaken during the 2006 Giro d’Italia. The majority of the blood bags, therefore, belong to cyclists, in addition to several track and field athletes – two or three, if any, belong to athletes from other sports. However WADA has been unable to identify some of the samples because the DNA has denatured in the time taken to win the appeal to have the blood tested.
Fuentes has admitted to working with footballers, boxers and tennis players. The initials of soccer clubs were found in documents belonging to the doping doctor Fuentes. Jesus Manzano, the cyclist and whistleblower who formed a large part of the Guardia Civil’s case, named two Brazilian footballers he had seen in Fuentes’ Madrid surgery on four or five occasions. More evidence to supports these links could have been retrieved if his properties in the Canary Islands had been searched. Jurisdiction complications did not allow for this as it would have delayed the investigation.