Doping, it’s a family affair, Fuentes and Bernucci-style.
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the famous dope doctor of Operacion Puerto fame, is now once again at the center of a new investigation in Spain, operation Greyhound.
But those legal and ethical problems aren’t about to ruin the holidays. He’s made plans to celebrate the holidays with dinner at CONI’s least favorite family, the Bernuccis.
Fuentes and his sister Yolanda (also implicated in the Greyhound case) are headed to the home of former Lampre rider Lorenzo Bernucci and his soon-to-be banned wife Valentina Borgioli, brother Alessio Bernucci, mother Antonella Rossi and father-in-law Fabrizio Borgioli.
“Family comes first,” said Rossi. “The Fuentes are nice people and we decided to make them feel welcome. The Spanish police have really mistreated him and he needs some good Italian cooking to cheer him up.”
The joint celebration became a reality shortly after the Italian Olympic Committee recommended bans for Lorenzo and his family and Fuentes and his sister were nabbed by Spanish anti-doping authorities.
“We had plans to fly home to the Canary Islands,” said Dr. Fuentes. “But then out of the blue Bernucci invited us to dinner. They sound like wonderful people and we accepted immediately.”
Police from both Spain and Italy are now converging on Bernucci’s home in Quarrata near Florence and setting up surveillance.
“Maybe it is dinner and maybe it is not,” said Aldo Spezzoni, head of the anti-doping police in Tuscany. “It is like two mob families joining forces. The mother is the worse. Don’t let the smile and apron fool you — she is dangerous.”
With a total of seven people at the dinner table, it’s sure to be a festive evening but there’s still one chair left and Lorenzo Bernucci may be inviting one final guest.
“I’ve asked my good friend Alessandro Petacchi to join us. He has some funny stories to tell about police searches,” said Bernucci. “Ale is a natural story-telling and I think the Fuentes would enjoy him tremendously.”
The Italian sprinter and winner of this year’s green jersey at the Tour de France is under investigation for the use of PFC (Perfluorocarbon) and human serum albumin.