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UCI to pursue Operation Puerto anti-doping rule violations 'where applicable'

Blood sample
Josh Cunningham
16 Jun 2016

Blood bags seized in Operacion Puerto to be handed to authorities and UCI to collaborate with others to 'determine legal options'.

The UCI has given comment on the recent decision made by the Madrid Court of Appeal to make the blood bags collected as evidence in Operation Puerto available to the authorities.

In a press release, the UCI said it 'welcomed the decision', with president Brian Cookson adding: 'The UCI applauds this decision. Although it is regrettable that we had to wait this long, in the end the message sent is clear.'

The UCI will now partner with WADA, the RFEC (Spanish cycling federation), Agencia Española de Protección de la Salud en el Deporte (Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport), and CONI (Italian Olympic comittee), to determine the legal options available with regards to analysing the blood and plasma bags.

The UCI also say it will pursue anti-doping rule violations 'where applicable'. 

14/06/2016 

A court in Madrid has ruled that over 200 blood bags relating to the Operacion Puerto doping scandal should be handed over to the authorities, reports Spanish newspaper El País.

The bags were originally seized in 2006 from the clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, and riders such as Alejandro Valverde and Ivan Basso have served suspensions for their links with the doping ring. In the interim, the destruction of the bags has been mooted, and the time taken for proceedings in the Spanish courts to unfold denounced by WADA, but the order has now come for the bags to be handed to the Spanish cycling federation, the UCI, WADA, and others. 

The WADA statue of limitations, which stands at 10 years, means that even if the respective authorities are able to publish the names of the guilty, prosecuting them will be a far more difficult task. Fuentes himself has been acquitted for the charges of crimes against public health that had been held against him. 

The 211 bags set to be handed over are thought to correspond to 35 athletes, but with a suspected 23 of them being cyclists, the Puerto case may yet embroil other sports as well. 

We will update this as more information emerges.

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