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Spanish Cycling Federation Takes a New Look at Doping, Drugs in Cycling's Operacion Puerto Case

roadskater's picture

A couple of recent articles say that the Spanish Cycling Federation, Real Federación Española de Ciclismo (RFEC), will be pursuing santions against riders and others involved in blood doping in the Operación Puerto cycling doping case. Most thought that the Spanish federation had let it drop, and some were disappointed in this decision.

After studying the Barcelona lab's report, El Mundo described Fuentes's program as: riders would visit Fuentes a few weeks before a race and have blood removed. Fuentes would run the blood through a centrifuge, separating the blood plasma from the red blood cells. The cells would be re-injected into shortly before competition, boosting resistance to fatigue. If haematocrit levels (volume of red blood cells) got dangerously high, they would re-inject plasma as well, enhanced with EPO, to dilute the red blood cells and avoid detection. wikipedia.org

If you look over the review linked above and in these brief articles...

 ...you'll see some names that have been prominent of late in the Tour of California. Basso, Sevilla, Mancebo, at least.

Reuters gives an overview if you're not sure what this the Spanish doping case is about...

The investigation was originally launched in 2006 when raids uncovered anabolic steroids, blood transfusion equipment and more than 200 code-named blood bags, some of which were linked to leading riders.

Police listed more than 50 athletes, including former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, Tour of Spain winner Roberto Heras and Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso.

The probe was twice halted without any prosecutions but a Madrid court last month ordered it be reopened after considering various appeals. in.reuters.com 

Velonews has a nice report, if brief. Here's an interesting portion...

According to the AS report, the federation has solicited a complete report and documentation, which revealed names implicated in the alleged doping ring uncovered by Spain’s Guardia Civil in raids in labs and apartments in May 2006.

Officials are also asking for toxicology reports conducted by doctors in Barcelona that detected the banned blood booster EPO in eight bags as well as access to 99 bags of blood and plasma found in labs used by alleged ringleaders, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and Merino Batres.

Spanish authorities want to match the bags against samples collected by the UCI to try to match the blood samples to specific riders. velonews.com

It may take years, but maybe, over time, we may get some more answers. 

Last fall, Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) was also linked to the scandal, but he avoided a racing ban after Luxembourg authorities decided that Schleck only “consulted” with Fuentes despite transferring more than 7,000 euros into an account owned by the Spanish doctor.

Spanish riders have so far avoided persecution, but that’s changing as Italian authorities go after Alejandro Valverde. Officials from CONI insist they have proof that Valverde is linked to Puerto scandal and are threatening him with a two-year racing ban and possible jail time. velonews.com

VeloNews is well done I think. Nice cycling magazine and website.

You might remember some "superhuman" performances from previous Tours de France by ToC Stage 8 winner, Fränk Schleck, too. Others noticed and wondered...

Prior to the 2008 UCI Road World Championships in Varese, Italy, on September 26, 2008, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a further article on the connections between Schleck and Fuentes after claiming to have seen evidence on a bank transfer of €7000 from Schleck to a Swiss bank account linked to Fuentes. The existence of the evidence was revealed by German police and subsequently confirmed by Luxembourg prosecutors.[5]

Following Schleck's public admittance of such payment on October 3, 2008, Bjarne Riis and Team CSC decided to temporarily suspend Schleck from any further races until the outcome of the doping allegations towards Schleck has been fully clarified.[6] Schleck was cleared from all allegations by the doping authorities of Luxembourg in the beginning of December.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Schleck

OK, so why would a cycling federation have any desire to clear a national sports hero's name? Are you kidding? So the situation is such that if we're going to watch cycling, it looks like it still probably isn't clean.

I'm glad the Spanish Cycling Federation is opening up the case. I hope they do serious work on this. Will we learn anything about Contador? At this point as I have said, I suspect superhumans, and I think he qualifies, and I especially suspect superhumans in the employ of Johan Brunyeel, though I have no proof of anything of course.

The new steps by the RFEC may help, and maybe one day we can believe in the future performances, for a while, if not the past ones. Of course they may just be yielding to pressure from the Italian Olympic folk (think Basso told all?), and may plan to whitewash it.

Maybe we can believe in some past performances after a few years, but not now. And probably not!

Location

Madrid
Spain
40° 25' 0.2676" N, 3° 42' 11.7" W

Comments

roadskater's picture

Why Operation Puerto Riders Allowed at Tour of California 2009

I had read this earlier but forgot to include it. This shows a couple of ways at least of looking at the situation, and includes Hamilton and E Gutierrez in the list of course... http://www.velonews.com/article/87976 It also talks about the team of last resort for those accused of doping...Rock Racing. I'd like to say after a rider has served a two year ban, I think that's enough to let it go. I think Hamilton has done this, and Landis (not part of Puerto).

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