Who are the Spaniards under the USADA spotlight?
LEON, Spain (VN) — There are some recognizable names in the blistering allegations leveled by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, with all-too-familiar players such as Dr. Michele Ferrari featured alongside Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at the center of the storm.
Accusations have been swirling around them for years, but what’s surprising about the USADA report leaked Wednesday is the inclusion of several other key players in the alleged “doping conspiracy,” as USADA officials have labeled it, who have long maintained a lower profile.
Among them are three Spaniards — two doctors and one trainer — who could find themselves garnering some unwanted attention as USADA pushes forward with its controversial case against Armstrong.
Pedro Celaya and Luis del Moral, both licensed medical doctors in Spain, and trainer Pepe Martí have long been associated with the teams managed by Bruyneel since 1999.
In Spain, all three have quite a bit of notoriety within the cycling community, but beyond the Pyrénées little is known about them.
Celaya, 56, is one of the current doctors at RadioShack-Nissan. A native of Spain’s Basque Country, the affable Celaya has been with Bruyneel since the U.S. Postal Service days. According to USADA documents, Celaya served as a doctor at U.S. Postal Service from 1997-98 and again from 2004-2007 during the Discovery Channel era. In the interim, he worked on teams managed by Manolo Saiz and he is currently one of the team doctors at RadioShack-Nissan.
The other doctor mentioned by USADA is Luis del Moral, who worked as team doctor within the Bruyneel camp from 1999-2003. Del Moral, who operates a sports clinic in Valencia along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, saw his name make headlines last year when he was linked to a story involving former Garmin sport director Matt White.
Last January, White was fired after he broke internal Garmin team rules when he told former rider Trent Lowe to visit Del Moral for medical checkups. Garmin, known for its strict anti-doping policies, outlined in internal rules that only officially sanctioned team doctors could work with riders.
Del Moral’s name also surfaced during the U.S. Attorney’s now-closed grand jury investigation into Armstrong two years ago.
Del Moral refused to speak to VeloNews last year, but in an interview with The Associated Press, he denied any knowledge of doping activities within U.S. Postal Service during his time at the team. “This is ridiculous. I have nothing to hide,” Del Moral said. “I don’t know anything about this. I never saw such things.”
The third Spanish name is the more elusive Martí, a Spanish trainer who has also worked closely with several riders within Bruyneel’s teams, including Alberto Contador.
Little is known about Martí, who is not a licensed medical doctor. He rarely speaks to the media and refused a routine interview request from VeloNews three years ago during a race in Spain. According to the USADA documents, Martí started working at U.S. Postal Service in 1999, then the rebranded Discovery Channel team through 2007 and switched to Astana in 2008.
Floyd Landis, speaking in an interview with the German TV station ARD in 2011, accused Martí of supplying riders with drugs.
“Pepe was a supplier of drugs to U.S. Postal when I was on the team,” Landis was quoted on ARD. “I often used (Martí) to buy growth hormones, EPO and other doping products. He was not a coach. He was nothing more than a known drug dealer.”
There was never any public reaction from Martí, but Alberto Contador’s representatives acknowledged that he worked with Martí during his time at both Discovery Channel and Astana. Contador has not reportedly worked with Martí since 2010.
All three are cited with similar allegations, including possession, trafficking and assisting of the use of banned, performance-enhancing products as well as assisting in “covering up” anti-doping rule violations.
Editor’s Note: While he has worked with Pepe Martí in the past, Alberto Contador has not been publicly implicated in the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong, et al. This story originally noted that Dr. Celaya worked with ONCE in 1998 and joined U.S. Postal Service in 1999. USADA documents claim that Celaya worked with USPS in 1997-1998, but not 1999.