March 25, 2004
Manzano circus continues
The Manzano saga continues, with more detail, with the latest chapter (en Español) in AS. Today, he details the ways riders use EPO and human growth hormone.
"It's like an open bar when it comes to growth hormones, and you get injected with EPO (erythropoietin) almost every day," said the 25-year-old Spaniard in the second part of his interview with AS.
Manzano claimed he had his red blood cell as high as 56, well above the legal limit of 50, which is itself well above the average even among elite athletes. Manzano said teams evade the tests for EPO by leaving some riders below the legal limits, and sending them first for tests when blood testers come calling. In the meantime, doctors give the riders on EPO blood plasma and glucose products, which Manzano said could quickly lower hematocrit levels by 4 points.
"If it wasnt for EPO I don't think the average speed at major tours would be 41 kph," he said.
Manzano's story continues tomorrow in AS:
"There is also cortisone, nandrolone, synthetic haemoglobin, Actovegin - there are a lot of things to explain, but I'll talk about them in the coming days."
Bizarrely, Manzano's accusations have led to a job offer from the Italian Amore e Vita team: "With us, he will find the values of a clean team."
Quoting Kelme director Vicente Belda:
"[Manzano] is talking nonsense," an irate Vicente Belda, Kelme's team manager, told French sports daily L'Equipe. "He has zero credibility. When we fired him from the team, he swore he was going to exact his revenge."
For an inside look at the effects of performance-enhancing drugs, check out the article and interview linked from this post, by a writer for Outside magazine, who used EPO, HGH, and other performance enhancers, then wrote about the experience.