Jesus Manzano testifies to EPO use

MADRID -- One of the plaintiffs in the Operation Puerto trial told the court of complex doping in cycling while under cross-examination Wednesday.

Former professional rider Jesus Manzano gave details of a wide range of doping techniques used to boost performance. He told Judge Julia Santamaria that two of the drugs he was given were developed for use in animals.

"We used to joke in the team that some days you barked and others you mooed," Manzano said.

He testified that under the supervision of Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the center of the Puerto case, he was given blood doping transfusions, the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) and substances to mask doping agents after their use.

Yorck Olaf Schumacher, an independent medical expert contracted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, also was questioned, saying many of the techniques employed by Fuentes involved an element of risk.

Schumacher said blood doping as practiced by Fuentes could lead to "low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness" and the practices were "normally only used in surgery that is scheduled in advance."

He said some of the blood extractions used by Fuentes involved 20 percent of the total volume of blood in the body, something that he said disturbed proper functioning.

Manzano said Fuentes used to transport blood bags around "as if it were the most normal thing in the world."

"I was treated with EPO in 2000, 2001 and 2003 by Eufemiano," Manzano said, adding that Fuentes and his sister used to provide riders with "white powders" that would mask the blood booster. "The white powder was put into the penis to deteriorate urine. That way we didn't test positive with EPO."

To pass UCI controls, riders used to transfuse saline solution and human albumin into their bloodstream to lower the hematocrit level, Manzano said.

"They injected a liter," he said.

The former Kelme rider said the procedure used to prepare blood doping bags for use during competitions was planned in advance.

"A month before an extraction we took EPO," he said, adding that it was best to leave an additional 12-day margin so as not to test positive.

Manzano said he had also been administered a substance known as HMG, used to mask the presence of the hormones testosterone and epitetosterone.