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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Flash, September 27, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

Schleck investigated as Fuentes customer

Schleck wore yellow on the Alpe d'Huez stage this summer
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Fränk Schleck of CSC-Saxo Bank was reportedly "unmasked" Friday as a customer of Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor whose Madrid clinic was raided by Spanish police in 2006 as part of Operación Puerto. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that investigators have evidence of nearly seven thousand Euro being wired to Fuentes' Swiss bank account in March 2006. The Luxembourg Attorney General Robert Belver confirmed the existence of the payment.

"Yes, there is this payment of about 7000 Euro to Mr. Fuentes. I have received copies of the bank documents from Germany," Biever told the SZ. "Several weeks ago I sent these documents concerning Schleck to the Luxembourg Anti-doping Agency."

The documents were uncovered by the German Bundeskriminalamt (federal police), which confirmed the matter. "Luxembourg is responsible, that's why we sent them the papers," press spokeswoman Anke Spriesterbach told the newspaper.

In addition, the newspaper says that it has seen witness statements claiming that Schleck and CSC manager Bjarne Riis visited Fuentes in Madrid as early as December 2005.

The newspaper further stated that research shows that Schleck is the one identified with the name "Amigo di Birillo". Birillo has been identified as Ivan Basso, Schleck's friend and former teammate, who confessed his involvement with the Spanish doctor last year.

On Friday, Schleck told the SZ, "I have not doped." But he confirmed that he had an appointment with the Luxembourg Anti-doping Committee. "Of course I will take the time to clear this situation up."

Riis told the newspaper, "Frank confirmed to me that he hadn't done anything wrong. hasn't violated any anti-doping rules."

Schleck is currently in Varese for the World Championship road race on Sunday.

French antidoping chief Pierre Bordry said that the announcement of retroactive testing on Tour de France samples could be the reason for several riders not taking the start in Varese. According to news agency AFP, the samples of some 30 riders will be re-tested.

The samples had been selected from riders whose initial testing in the lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, gave "inconclusive" results. Bordry later confirmed that the lab would specificially look for CERA, a new variant of EPO, for which Riccardo Ricco tested positive during the Tour.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

(Editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer)

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