Mentheour: a Concert of Lies
After being fired by his team (FDJ) for high hematocrit (56%!) in 1997, he decided to quit cycling and, on the wave of the "Festina scandal," begins the writing of a book: "Secret defonce", was published in France and readily translated in Italy.
In his book, he defined himself as a "lazy and messy guy" who used to take "lots of junk", including the "good old amphetamines" and the infamous "Pot Belge" (an amphetamines-cocaine-heroin mix).
Further in the book he wrote that after the Giro d' Italia of '96, in June, he asked the managers of his team (AKI) to put him in touch with the most famous doctor in Italy with regards to doping: the "Dottore".
He continued by revealing a meeting with delivery of doping products.
He added that the waiting room of the "Dottore" is "always full of all kinds of athletes, sitting composedly, including footballers and a famous skier."
He also wrote of telephone calls with the "Dottore", discussing mysterious substances and nosebleeds as a side effect of EPO.
On February 2nd 1999, ANSA's agencies titled:
“DOPING: Mentheour, everyone queuing by the Italian doctor for EPO”.
The next day, Eugenio Capodacqua wrote on Repubblica: “Everyone going to the wizard of doping. More suspicions in Ferrara”.
On April 4th 1999, Public prosecutor Pierguido Soprani managed to obtain permission to interrogate Mentheour via urgent rogatory.
Four days later, he went straight to Brest, accompanied by the usual marshal Ostili, his colleague Ferrante and an interpreter.
In front of Brest's Judge Bruno Le Becachel, this is what Mentheour declared:
- the team physician Dr. Peruzzi prescribed anabolic steroids, EPO and growth hormone to the whole team
- since February 1996 he was being followed by his personal physician, "the Dottore" (didn't the relationship start after the Giro of '96 anyway?)
- he refused to disclose the name of the "Dottore" because he received serious threats
- he did not remember name of the city where the study of the "Dottore" was; in any case, it was at the second floor of a building
- he claimed to be aware of the fame of Dr. Michele Ferrari, denied having any telephone contact with Dr. Ferrari.
Disappointed by the results of the interrogation, the members of the costly expedition returned to Italy, but only after Mentheour, in front of a beer (!!!), confirmed them that "the Dottore is Michele Ferrari, Zidane was among the soccer players and the skier was Tomba”, or at least so was written in marshal Ostili's report.
The opening of an inquiry dossier further ensued, presenting interviews with team AKI's members and other potential witnesses: everyone denied Mentheour's statements.
The file is then closed by PM Spinosa for complete lack of evidence, defining it as “slippery for the trial”(?).
I never met Erwann Mentheour, I did not even know there was a professional cyclist with this name, I never had a studio on the second floor of a building, I've never consulted football players, let alone Zidane or Tomba and in my study I always received one athlete at a time.