Cycling: Kelme rider takes Spain to brink of drug scandal

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The Independent Online

Spanish professional cycling is on the brink of what is predicted to be the biggest doping scandal in its history after a professional rider claimed that he has revealed alleged illegal medical practices within his team in a television programme.

Spanish professional cycling is on the brink of what is predicted to be the biggest doping scandal in its history after a professional rider claimed that he has revealed alleged illegal medical practices within his team in a television programme.

In an interview in the Spanish newspaper Marca, Jesus Manzano, a former rider with the Kelme squad, said he is "not going to do this like [Philippe] Gaumont" - the former French rider who recently described in detail a number of doping techniques used by cyclists. He said: "Instead I'm actually going to come out with solid proof."

Manzano's soon-to-be-broadcast television interview covers "what happened to me in person in the Tour of Portugal and the Tour de France, not to mention being kicked off a train in Valencia because I was half-dead [presumably from drug use]".

While French cycling has been rocked by a series of police investigations and drugs stories since 1998, Spain is the only European country where the teams have remained largely on the margin of such major scandals.

Kelme are one of the most financially troubled squads in cycling, and last year their rider Javier Pascual Llorente tested positive for EPO in the Tour de France. When the news broke,the entire squad in the Tour of Portugal abandoned the race, and the then team doctor, Walter Viru, left for South America.

Manzano quit the Tour because of an apparent attack of heat exhaustion in the Alps and was then kicked off Kelme after he was found entertaining a female friend in his hotel during the 2003 Tour of Spain.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for Cycling Weekly

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