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 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Victor Conte's convinced he played a small, but important, role in Barry Bonds' coronation as Major League Baseball's home run king.
Conte, the man at the center of the BALCO scandal, said he designed a complex nutritional regimen from 2000 to 2003 in conjunction with an intense weightlifting program that enabled Bonds to significantly increase his power.
In 2001, Bonds hit 73 home runs to set the single season record.
Conte, who was released from prison in March 2006 after pleading guilty to selling designer steroids from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative he founded, said the supplements he sold Bonds were all legal.
``I never gave him steroids,'' Conte said. ``I never had those discussions with Barry because there was no need to.''
Conte declined to speculate on whether he thinks Bonds ever used steroids and said too much is made of that issue.
``Training is what provided those power increases,'' Conte said. ``This guy is one of the hardest working athletes.''
He said Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson also deserves some credit for helping Bonds break Hank Aaron's home run record when he hit No. 756 Tuesday night. Anderson has been in a federal minimum security prison since November for refusing to testify in the federal government's perjury probe of the slugger.
Federal officials are investigating whether Bonds lied to a grand jury when he testified that he didn't knowingly take steroids. Bonds told the grand jury that he trusted Anderson when the personal trainer told him he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.
Anderson previously served three months in prison after pleading guilty to selling steroids in connection with Conte's BALCO.
Conte said Anderson made sure Bonds took his many supplements at the right time of day while putting the future Hall of Famer through an intense weightlifting regimen.
``In essence, he was spoon fed this by Greg. Greg took this to an entirely different level,'' Conte said. ``I think Barry misses Greg Anderson tremendously.''
Anderson's lawyer Paula Canny didn't return a telephone call late Tuesday. But she said recently that Anderson's legal team soon will ask a judge to set him free.
Conte said he hasn't attended a San Francisco Giants game since he was released from prison.
``I didn't want to be a distraction,'' Conte said. ``Now that he has the record, I am now going to go.''
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