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'Dope doctor' denies charges

05 April 2013, 12:54

Madrid - A Spanish doctor accused of being at the centre of a huge blood doping racket in cycling on Tuesday denied endangering the health of his clients, as evidence in the high-profile case concluded.

"In my 35-year long medical career I have never prejudiced the health of my patients, nor have I ever been aware of damage I have caused to one of my patients," Eufemiano Fuentes told the court in Madrid.

"The objective that I always pursue as a doctor is to protect the health of others, not to prejudice it."

Fuentes, his sister and three other co-accused are on trial charged with endangering public health for the manner in which they extracted, transfused, stored and transported blood belonging to a number of top professional cyclists.

Earlier Fuentes' lawyer, Tomas Valdivieso, said that his client did not deserve an exemplary two-year sentence as had been called for by the prosecution, but rather one that complied with the law.

At the time of Fuentes' arrest in 2006, doping was not a crime in Spain.

"We want sport to be clean, honourable and that Spanish sportsmen and women do not commit crimes but that is not the motive of this trial," said Valdivieso.

"There has been a confusion created that from a legal point of view, if blood is a medicine or not. And it is not."

Fuentes' testimony was the last in the 10-week trial - which has been closely watched because of suggestions that the doctor's clients may have included other top athletes in Spain and elsewhere - as the judge retired to consider her verdict.

However, a court source said that the verdict is not expected for at least another month.

- Sport24


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