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By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2004
Spanish cyclist Jesus Manzano appeared in court in Turin, Italy, on Tuesdaywhere he was questioned by prosecutors who are trying to find out moreabout doping in the sport.Manzano, whose recent claims about doping practices at his former Kelmeteam have rocked the sport to its foundations in Spain, appeared in frontof public prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello at the city’s Palace of Justice.Guariniello, who is leading his own investigation into doping practicesin the sport in Italy, quizzed Manzano for three-and-a-half hours.”It was a long and tough interrogation,” said the 25-year-old, who hasagreed a deal to ride for the Italian Amore e Vita stable following hissacking from the Spanish Kelme last year. “I’m sorry for my country, butthere is no specific law to deal with these problems in Spain and thatis a disgrace.”Manzano, 25, was sacked by Kelme after last year’s Vuelta a Españafor allegedly having sex with a woman in his hotel room – which he hasdenied.
He stayed true to a promise made last month that he would seek revenge for his sacking by revealing sordid details of organised doping.Manzano’s revelations mainly concern last year’s Tour de France – onwhich he claimed he came close to death when he collapsed on the seventhstage after being injected by an unknown substance.He also claimed he was forced to participate in blood transfusions andlater he detailed how banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin), growthhormones and other drugs are rampant in the peloton.
Manzano said last week that he had received death threats following his revelations.”I’ve received threats. Someone with an unidentified number called meon my mobile phone and told me that a contract had been put on my life.My life is worth 3000 euros,” he said.However, the Spaniard said he felt relieved by his confessions.”I stand by everything I’ve said – the EPO, the transfusions, the organiseddoping within the team (Kelme),” he said.Manzano has told the Spanish Sports Council that testers are regularlyfooled by team doctors and he has supplied the names of doctors and teammanagers he claimed were involved.