Jesus Manzano: "Then one day all of the sudden it stops and you become dramatically depressed."

Excerpt from l’Equipe interview with Jesus Manzano, June 5th, 2007:

“You mentioned Jose Maria Jiminez, el Chava, who died in 2003 from a heartattack. Was it the drugs that killed him?”
-Of course, like it killed Pantani. The drugs lead you to other addictions. The anti-depressants almost automatically accompany other doping treatments. I took up to 8 pills of prozac a day when I was racing.

“Why”
-Prozac cuts the appetite, keeps you in another world, a world where you’re not afraid of what you’re doing. You’re no longer afraid to inject yourself with all the crap. It takes you to a world where you don’t ask any more questions especially you don’t ask your doctor questions either or your sporting director. Then there are periods where you must stop doping you feel like superman. Then one day all of the sudden it stops and you become dramatically depressed. Look at Pantani, Vandenbroucke and all the others we don’t even talk about. They are numerous other cyclists and former cyclists that are addicted to cocaine, heroin and other medications. It’s not just in the world of cycling…”

Full translated article at NY Velocity

From the Archives: Former Kelme professional Jesus Manzano

Manzano speaks out, as reported at the time by www.cyclingnews.com:

Former Kelme professional Jesus Manzano has spoken out about alleged doping practices within his team, describing at length his experiences which he claims left him seriously ill on two occasions in 2003. Manzano, who rode for Kelme between 2000 and 2003, was fired from the team during the Vuelta a España after sleeping with a woman during the race, thereby breaching team conduct. Some say that he is now seeking revenge on his former team, and his comments have gained a lot of attention in the Spanish media.

In an extensive interview with AS, Manzano explained that he and the cyclists on Kelme used blood transfusions to keep themselves “healthy” during the season. Before the Tour de France, he had a litre of blood removed and stored as two 500 mL portions. Manzano noted at the time, “One thing I did not see as normal was to leave the portions in a plastic tray without marking them, if you are going to extract from more people. The first thing you should do is to mark them and put them in a blood bank. We are not dogs, we are people and we have the right to be treated as such…Then I became aware that you must first do a cross check to see if it’s your blood that is going to be put back into you.”

Manzano said that he put in €3,000 at the start of the Tour to cover “medication”, and he supposed that the other riders put in the same amount. But because by the end of the race the team’s prizemoney was almost non-existent, they actually made a loss.

Manzano described the first part of the Tour as “normal” but things suddenly changed in stage 7. “It was the first mountain stage and in the morning they tested a substance that I had not experimented with. This substance was taken according to your weight. It is injected into a vein and the unique thing that it does is to keep your hematocrit low but raise your haemoglobin.

“In the morning they injected 50 ml of this product into me. Before the start I was in the village, I spoke on the phone with my girlfriend, Marina, and I told her: ‘Prepare yourself, because I know today that I am going to ride well.”

On the day’s first climb, the Cat. 2 Col des Portes (km 50), Manzano and Richard Virenque set off to try and catch the early break with Paolo Bettini, Rolf Aldag, Médéric Clain and Benoît Poilvet. Virenque would not work with Manzano as he had Bettini in front, leaving Manzano to try and close the gap himself. But after three kilometres of climbing, “I started to have sensations of dizziness, with a lot of heat, very cold sweat, contrasts of hot and cold, but above all, a lot of cold. In spite of the July heat, I began to shiver and feel strange. Virenque looked at me and attacked. I went for another half a kilometre and there was a corner. It was so hot that the tar of the asphalt had melted…the only thing I remember was that I was dizzy and I could not longer ride straight, if I crashed, whether they would carry me off, where they would take me.”

Manzano recalled his experiences subsequent to his crash, and said that he was given an injection in the ambulance as well as an electrocardiogram. “I felt strange, as if my tongue had swollen, as if I couldn’t breathe. If they had put a hole in my throat I would have thanked them.”

Manzano believed that whatever he took in the morning before the stage resulted in his near catastrophic dehydration. After the Tour, he began to get depressed and afraid, and lost his desire to race. One night his team director told him that he was going to do the Tour of Portugal. “I don’t know if I am going to race any more,” said Manzano, to which his director replied “I you don’t race any more this year, you won’t race next year.” “Man, if I don’t race year, why would I want to race the next!” were Manzano’s final words.

A few days later in Valencia, Manzano was asked to ‘reclaim’ his second half litre of blood. “It was July 25 I think. I was in Valencia, I slept in a hotel and the team personnel were already saying to me that there was a problem during the Tour that affected the team, that there was a positive case, but it was nothing to do with me.”

Manzano got on a train to Valencia and met an assistant of the team doctor who gave him his blood. “There were no cross checks…it could have been the blood of Pepito Flores,” he said. He was injected with 125 ml of blood and immediately “I started to feel very, very bad. Chills and shivers, even with the blankets they gave me I felt colder than if I was at the North Pole.”

“If they had put in half a litre I would have returned in a pine box,” he continued. “They put 125-175 ml in me and this happened…I understood that the blood was at the Tour and wasn’t stored properly.”

Despite feeling this way and still shivering, Manzano got in a taxi to go back to the station at Valencia. “I got on the train, went in first class and felt a lot warmer. My girlfriend went and asked if they could turn off the air conditioning. And they asked her if I would be able to survive until Madrid. The guard decided to turn it off and even so I asked him for a blanket, but they didn’t have one. There was a man in front of me who said ‘This boy will not last, he’ll die.’ The train wouldn’t start unless I got off. The team manager called a doctor and he came. He took me on his shoulders and carried me back to the clinic. And they started to give me more Urbason [a Prednisolone derivative with anti-inflammatory action].”

Manzano passed a another terrible night and in the morning the team director called him to ask him not to tell anyone else on the team. “How could I not do it? It could have happened to someone else too.”

And the drug list:

Actovegin (extract of calves blood which supposedly improves oxygen carrying capacity)
Albumina H. (protein in blood plasma)
Androgel (testosterone)
Aranesp (Darbepoetin alfa = super EPO)
Celestote (corticosteroid)
Eprex (EPO)
Genotorm (growth hormone)
Hemoce (plasma)
Deca durabolin (anabolic steroid)
Humatrope (growth hormone)
IgF1 (insulin growth factor 1)
Neofertinon (hormone to stimulate ovulation and estrogen production)
Neorecormon (hormone that regulates red blood cell production)
Norditropin (growth hormone)
Nuvacten (corticosteroid)
Trigon (asthma drug)
Urbason (corticosteroid)
Ventolin (bronchial dilator)
Oxandrolona (anabolic agent)
Vitamin B12 (essential B vitamin)
Triamcinolona (corticosteroid)
Testoviron (testosterone)
Aspirina (analgesic, anti-inflammatory)
Oxyglobin (artificial haemoglobin intended for anaemic dogs)
Hemopure (artificial haemoglobin)
Ferlixit (iron)
Caffeine (stimulant)
Hemassist (artificial haemoglobin)
Prozac (antidepressant)

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