The infamous Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the man at the center of the center of the Operacion Puerto doping ring, announced Thursday that he’s organizing a charity ride to raise money for suspended riders.
“It is not like fund raising for children with cancer or for AIDS research but it is important. These riders are without employment and are struggling to pay their legal fees,” said Fuentes.
The 120 kilometer ride is scheduled for January 16th in Lausanne, Switzerland on a course that circles the Court of Arbitration in Sport building.
“It is perhaps a symbolic touch,” said Fuentes, who hopes to raise 1,000,000 euros. “When I look at their sad faces, Di Luca in particular, it breaks my heart. I told my wife, I will do everything I can.”
Already confirmed for the charity ride are disgraces riders Danilo Di Luca, Stefan Schumacher, Thomas Dekker, Mickel Astarlosa, Isidrol Nozal, Riccardo Ricco and Davide Rebellin. Alexander Vinokourov is said to be considering the ride.
Fuentes also plans to invite personal friends Manolo Saiz, Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Floyd Landis to make guest appearances. “You know, in all the talk about ethics and morality, people forget that doping also hurts the doper. They are in a lot of pain,” said Fuentes.
It is rumored that Alejandro Valverde may or my not make an appearance. Fuentes had this to say about his alleged former client: “Piti, I mean Alejandro, is on the fence. I hope to see him.”
Italian Danilo di Luca, still working on a plausible conspiracy theory to explain his own failed doping tests, said Fuentes is a man of real character. “Truly, I have great respect for him. Who else tries to help the lepers, the starving childen, the suspended riders? He is a saint. This is a positive thing for cycling and sport in general,” said Di Luca.
Patrick McQuaid, president of the UCI was outraged by the idea of the charity doping ride. “It sends the wrong message. When are the Spanish authorities going to wake up? Why don’t they just give away syringes with the raffle tickets,” said the combustible and powerless Irishman.
The charity ride will be proceeded by a silent auction — items already up for bid include autographed packets of leftover doses of anabolic steroids and blood manipulation products. “These things have sentimental value, yes, but it is about the riders and their needs,” said Fuentes. “I am particularly excited about the blood bags. They are from my personal collection which the police never found and are marked in code with the rider’s name. For the right bid, I will reveal the name,” said Fuentes.
As further details of the charity ride emerge, Twisted Spoke will follow up.