In the wake of recent news linking Jan Ullrich to specific bags of blood in the Operacion Puerto case, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes has issued a public statement admitting a severe lack of code name creativity.
"Si, I am really not that creative when it comes to code names. I never have been. If that is a crime then I am certainly guilty," said the beleaguered Spanish physician to a group of journalists in Madrid.
Recent "code names" released for the bags of blood linked to Jan Ullrich, arguably the most popular cyclist in Europe at the time, were "Jan", "Number 1" and "Hijo Rudicio." The latter code name can be translated as "Son of Rudy", a possible reference to Ullrich's longtime coach and confidante Rudy Pevenage.
"When I first started doing this whole blood collecting thing, I just put the rider's names right on the bags. But then someone pointed out that it probably wasn't a good idea to do that so I started trying to think of other ways to identify the bags and the riders. As it turns out, that was WAY harder than I thought it would be. Muy dificil," admitted Fuentes when questioned about the origin of the names.
"I even spaced out and wrote 'Jan' on one of the bags, but I thought I could play it off that it was for former 'Airwolf' star Jan Michael Vincent. That one didn't go over so well in Spain. I guess some of the Spanish Guardia Civil don't have the DVD's yet," continued the facilitator of perhaps the largest doping scandal in the history of cycling and apparent TV helicopter action-drama fan. Rumors of bags labeled "Ernest Borgnine" are unsubstantiated.
Additionally, the names of certain riders' dogs are allegedly printed on a number of the bags confiscated from Fuentes' apartment in Madrid. For example, the name "Birillo" is supposedly written on a bag that insiders have linked to Ivan Basso because it corresponds to his dog's name. Basso has denied these rumors and has stated that many Italians have named animals after the beloved Birillo Robot. Basso has also denied rumors that he is a robot after he destroyed the competition in the 2006 Giro.
"When I was younger I named my dog "Dog" so that should tell you something about my naming creativity. But I was impressed at the names that some of the riders had come up with for their dogs so I decided that might be a good code system. Well, once again...not so much. Nada mucho. Who knew so many many people were aware of these guys' pet names? Yeesh, I mean...get a life tifosi," continued Dr. Fuentes.
Yet another example of poor code naming is the stash of blood labeled "Buffalo" which allegedly corresponds to Jose Enrique Guitierrez. The rider widely known by the nickname "Buffalo" both for his large physique and labored riding style, finished a truly remarkable 2nd in the mountainous 2006 Giro d'Italia and is reputed to be a client of Fuentes.
"Once again, totally my bad on that code name. Just a really poor choice on my part," concluded Dr. Fuentes as he prepared to leave the press conference. "I sincerely apologize to all the riders who were so easily linked to this investigation by my lack of creative code naming skills. If I had known that these code names were so easy to track, I would have just labeled them with the athlete's names right on them. In retrospect, I mean really..."Son of Rudy", "Buffalo"...I'm really embarrassed that I was so deficient in my attempts to cover all of this up. I'm a doctor for crying out loud. I should have been better than that. Oh well."
"But hey...no one has been charged yet so it's all okay for the time being at least. I'll talk to you guys again after the Swiss and the Germans finish with Number 1...er I mean Hijo Rudicio...d'oh...ahh forget it. Call me when something actually happens in this case."
* Late Breaking News: Insiders have reported that Ivan Basso has recently changed his dog's name to "Bjarne."