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Sunday 09, Jun 2013

  Puerto Judge’s Ruling Condemned By Cyclists

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>Puerto Judge’s Ruling Condemned By Cyclists

The decision of the court in the infamous Operation Puerto trial has been criticized by cyclists and team directors at the Giro d’Italia. The Judge Julia Santamaria ordered, to the surprise of the World Anti-Doping Agency and many others, destruction of the blood bags seized in the Operation Puerto doping case.

This destruction of evidence pertains to more than 200 bags of blood and other evidence gathered in police raids involving Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006. It was despite the doctor testifying that he had clients from other sports, including soccer, tennis, boxing, and track. In the trial, more than 50 cyclists were implicated in the Puerto case and several were identified by name as having worked with the tainted doctor.

Most riders and team directors expressed disappointment with the ruling and said the ruling undermines the efforts to catch sport cheats and uncover the extent of one of the biggest drug scandals in European sports. Taylor Phinney, an American rider with the BMC squad who won the time trial that opened last year’s Giro, remarked he does not agree with the decision to destroy all the evidence and it doesn’t quite make sense to me.

British rider David Millar who returned from a doping ban to become an outspoken critic of banned drugs is hopeful that the ruling gets overturned on appeal. Anti-doping organizations have until May 17 to make an appeal. Millar said before the opening stage of the Giro that he knows the Spanish anti-doping agency are firmly against (destroying the evidence) and he knows WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) are firmly against that. Stefano Zanatta, the team director for Ivan Basso’s Cannondale squad, remarked unfortunately institutions often don’t handle things the same way in every country.

Fuentes was found guilty of endangering public health by the Madrid court and the doctor was handed a suspended jail sentence of one year and was barred from medical practice in sports for four years and ordered to pay a $6,000 fine. The judge cited privacy laws of Spain in her decision not to turn over the evidence to anti-doping authorities. This ruling, unless overturned on an appeal, would not allow officials from identifying the doctor’s blood-doping clients and pursuing disciplinary cases against them.

In other developments, Britain’s tennis star Andy Murray says the decision of the Spanish court to allow for the destruction of more than 200 blood bags in the Operation Puerto doping case is one big cover-up. Tennis star Rafael Nadal also expressed his disappointment with the decision and said the decision casts a dark cloud over Spanish athletes in particular and remarked the only ones who have benefited from this resolution are those who have cheated and it seems unfair that in a case as serious and as damaging to sport as this we’re talking about Spain. Nadal added to not give names looks like a big mistake to me and those who cheated deserve the contempt from all other athletes, who should make them feel ashamed before society. After the decision, Ana Munoz, the head of Spain’s anti-doping agency, announced that she would appeal the decision to destroy the evidence.

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Thursday 09, May 2013

  Blood Bags To Be Destroyed In Doping Case

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Blood Bags To Be Destroyed In Doping Case

The destruction of more than 200 blood bags seized in a raid of a major European doping ring that catered to elite athletes was ordered by a Spanish judge.

The decision by the judge in the trial of Eufemiano Fuentes is a huge setback for anti-doping agencies that have been trying hard to uncover possibly one of the biggest doping scandals in history.

In her ruling, Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria said the bags of blood, plasma and red blood cells, along with accompanying evidence that were gathered in a 2006 raid of the office of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes could not be released to anti-doping authorities because of the privacy laws of Spain.

Anti-doping agencies and sports federations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and Spain’s anti-doping agency (AEA) were making efforts to get the blood bags so they could try to identify athletes who had been Fuentes’s clients and pursue doping cases against them. Till now, only cyclists have been identified as working with Fuentes in the doping case called Operation Puerto though the disgraced doctor himself testified that his clients also included athletes in tennis, soccer, boxing, and track and field.

Dick Pound, the former chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency, remarked the decision of the judge to keep the evidence from anti-doping authorities “seriously undermines the credibility of sport” and went on to add that Spain risks becoming a haven for dopers, unless it takes a harder line regarding athletes who use drugs to cheat. Pound added that this performance with the Fuentes case is typical of what we’ve seen with Spain and we have been asking them for years about the evidence but there was no cooperation at all from them and the courts were almost vigorous in making sure that none of the information saw the light of day. He added that this verdict could very well hurt Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.

Fuentes was recently convicted of endangering public health for his role in doping athletes by helping them transfuse their own blood and supplying them with performance enhancing drugs. A one-year suspended sentence and a ban of four ban was imposed on Fuentes from practicing medicine and fined $6,000 though he was not charged with breaking doping laws because, at the outset of the case, doping was not illegal in Spain.

Ana Munoz, the head of Spain’s anti-doping agency, said the agency was likely to appeal against decision of the judge to withhold the evidence. Munoz added that we don’t consider this the end of the process and will now use all resources at our disposal to investigate further.

In a statement, WADA said access to this evidence motivated WADA’s involvement in this case and Wada is currently fully reviewing the decision and any possible appeal or other action with its Spanish legal advisors, and the Spanish National Anti-Doping Organization (AEA).

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson also expressed his sadness with the verdict and said it is massively disappointing because everything WADA has been about for the last few years is sharing information and making sure the global fight is fought at global level and what we’ve got here is a bunch of information that may or may not implicate people and we can’t get our hands on it and that’s really disappointing for clean athletes.

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Sunday 24, Mar 2013

  WADA May Get Blood Samples From Operation Puerto Evidence

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WADA May Get Blood Samples From Operation Puerto Evidence

There was a way for evidence contained in blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto blood doping trial to be shared with anti-doping authorities without breaking rules aimed at protecting a crime scene once the trial is completed, the lawyer representing the Spanish state said.

Lawyer Lucia Pedrero told the court the complete blood bags shouldn’t be handed over because they are part of a crime, but yes, samples of them could be given and then later the evidence could be destroyed. However, the final decision on this rests solely with judge Julia Santamaria, who has said she will announce her decision after the trial ends on April 2.

        A request for the same has already been made to the court by the World Anti-Doping Agency to release more than 200 blood bags seized by the Spanish police during raids to clinics and other places of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the alleged mastermind of a complex doping ring, in 2006. Meanwhile, the anti-doping watchdog of Spain has said it will do so as well when the trial is over.

The Spanish anti-doping authorities and WADA are hopeful that their analysis may lead to the identification of any cheating athletes, and uncover clues which most advanced tests available today could reveal. The World Anti-Doping Agency for years has tried and failed to get access from the Spanish courts to the blood bags found in the possession of Fuentes.

A report in El País has claimed that all 216 blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto have finally been accounted for and belong to 36 different athletes or cyclists.

Fuentes and five other defendants, including his sister and fellow doctor Yolanda Fuentes, are on trial for endangering the health of athletes they performed blood transfusions on with the goal of boosting their performance as doping in Spain was not illegal before 2006. The Operation Puerto blood doping trial involves defendants, including Fuentes and his sister, Manolo Saiz, former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director, Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both of whom were associated with the former Kelme team. Fuentes and the other defendants did not follow health regulations by carrying out blood transfusions under improper conditions, argued lawyer Lucia Pedrero and said we are not judging specific sport practices but judging if they carried out or incited acts that broke regulations on blood transfusions, thereby putting at risk the public health. He added that it is not necessary to show that harm was done, it is enough to prove the mere creation of the risk. The doctor however denies the charges, saying his procedures were safe.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for the International Cycling Union asked the judge to hand out harsh punishments to set an example. Pablo Jimenez de Parga told judge Julia Santamaria we are before the largest trial against a doping ring in sport, not just in Spain, but possibly in the world and the moment has arrived for the entire world to know Spain’s answer to this kind of behavior.

The trial is set to end on April 2 and the defendants stand to lose their professional licenses and face two years in jail.

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Saturday 23, Mar 2013

  German Cyclist Casts Doubt On Fuentes Defense In Trial

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German Cyclist Casts Doubt On Fuentes Defense In Trial

The Operation Puerto blood doping trial was recently told by German cyclist Jörg Jaksche that he the treatment he received from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was designed to beat doping controls and had nothing to do with genuine health issues. The evidence of Jaksche on the first day of testimony from professional riders before the judge in Madrid may have a bearing on whether the Spanish court decides that the disgraced doctor who denies doping and other defendants violated public health laws.

The cyclist from Germany was the first cyclist to admit blood doping in connection with the Puerto investigation that made it to the courtroom almost after seven years after Spanish police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment, and blood bags in 2006. On June 2007, the cyclist said he had used banned drugs over a period of 10 years and confirmed that he was a client of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes from 2005 and said going to see the doctor was like “going for an oil change”. The rider said Fuentes had supplied him with banned drugs including the booster erythropoietin (EPO) and performed blood transfusions. Jaksche also told the court that Fuentes had also given him an unidentified “white powder” to contaminate urine samples.

The accused doctor, along with four other defendants including his sister Yolanda, is being tried for violating health laws as the Spain’s current anti-doping legislation was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place. The prosecutor has asked for jail sentences of two years.

Last month, Fuentes remarked he had clients in sports including soccer, tennis, athletics, and boxing and agreed to reveal his client list if the same is sought by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish anti-doping authorities. The judge Julia Santamaria said she would not prevent Fuentes from doing so but would also not oblige him to do so, and said it would infringe the rights of those implicated.

In another development, Italian rider Ivan Basso told the court he had blood extracted on three occasions at the clinic of another doctor implicated in the Operation Puerto case but never had any reinjected. Tyler Hamilton, a long-time associate of Lance Armstrong, told the court that he paid tens of thousands of dollars a year for doping to the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal. The rider said he used blood doping about 15 times and also bought the blood booster EPO, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin from Eufemiano Fuentes. He said he paid $33,000 to $40,000 for the services in 2002 and 2003. The former rider for the U.S. Postal and CSC teams who was stripped of his gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics last year after confessing to doping said he had first met the Spanish doctor in Spain at a highway rest area between Barcelona and Valencia “to fix up blood transfusions” and “to plan for the future.” He named one-time Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner “Bjarne Riis, general manager of team CSC, when asked who put him in contact with Fuentes.

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Thursday 21, Mar 2013

  Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

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Spanish Doping Doctor May Shame Football And Other Sports

The doctor at the center of the massive Operation Puerto blood doping trial has told the court that he would name the clients whose blood has been seized.

Eufemiano Fuentes, who is on trial for allegedly running a doping network in cycling and ran one of sport’s largest blood-doping rings, threatened to name all his former clients. The Spanish doctor made the offer through reporters during Spain’s Operation Puerto trial. Fuentes remarked that if the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish drugs authorities consider that he can be useful and sought his help, he would be willing. He added that this would not be done for a reduced sentence but rather so there is mutual collaboration and also remarked they can have his client list if they want. Till now, only 54 cyclists, including Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Alejandro Valverde, have been personally implicated in the scandal.

Fuentes has admitted to having worked with people in football, tennis, boxing, and athletics and said cycling only comprised 30 percent of his work. This change of heart came as the world governing body of cycling urged the judge to show no leniency. The doctor faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail on public health charges and the five defendants on trial, including the Spanish doctor’s sister, Yolanda, will have one final opportunity to address the court on April 2 before sentencing commences. The defendants have been appearing in court since late January, almost seven years after police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment and blood bags as part of an investigation code-named “Operation Puerto”.

The trial proceedings have attracted international scrutiny and attention as anti-doping authorities are hopeful that it will finally lead to evidence of wrongdoing by athletes in sports other than cycling. Previously, a request by WADA for access to the blood bags was repeatedly denied by the Spanish authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency awaits the ruling of the judge on their latest petition. Since the current anti-doping legislation of Spain was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place, the defendants are tried for violating public health regulations with the prosecutor asking for jail sentences of two years.

In the past, German cyclist Joerg Jaksche told the Operation Puerto trial that the treatment he received from the Spanish doctor was designed to beat doping controls and had nothing to do with genuine health issues. Italian rider Ivan Basso, a double Giro d’Italia champion, told the court that he had blood extracted on three occasions at the clinic of another doctor implicated in the case but never had any reinjected. Spanish cyclist Angel Vicioso told the judge he had only met with Eufemiano Fuentes for sporadic medical consultations. Former cyclist Marcos Serrano contradicted testimony from former team director Manolo Saiz, one of the five defendants along with Fuentes, by saying he never personally sought out medical treatment from the disgraced Spanish doctor. Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who was originally scheduled to appear as a witness was told he would not be required to appear in court after Manolo Saiz’s attorney renounced the witness statement he had requested from the cyclist.

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Monday 18, Mar 2013

  Blood-Doping Doctor Should Be Put In Jail, Says Prosecutor

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Blood-Doping Doctor Should Be Put In Jail, Says Prosecutor

Spanish prosecutors have called for a jail term of two years for a doctor at the center of a high-profile blood doping racket in professional cycling as they wound up their case.

Eufemiano Fuentes should be imprisoned as he was the “soul and ideologist” of a “fraudulent and punishable” network that was intended to improve sports performance in lieu of money, public prosecutor Rosa Calero said. The doctor and four co-accused are presently on trial and accused of endangering public health by performing blood transfusions on a number of high-profile cyclists. The five are however not facing incitement to doping charges that was not a crime in the country at the time of their arrests in 2006 as part of Spain’s Operation Puerto police probe.

However, Calero remarked the criminal code of Spain still provided for imprisonment. She added the article states that those who supply deteriorated or out-of-date medicines, or those that do not comply with the technical requirement of their composition, stability or efficiency, or substitute a few medicines for others, put in danger the life or health of those people to whom the medicine is supplied. Calero also added that the method followed by Fuentes of carrying blood bags in backpacks to hotels surrounded by cold drinks to keep them at the required temperature “neglected hygienic standards and generated a clear risk to the health” of the recipients.

Lucia Pedreno, another lawyer representing the state, laid out evidence against the other four accused and their roles in the operations of Fuentes. Manolo Saiz and Vicente Belda in their roles as team directors of the Liberty Seguros and Kelme cycling teams respectively were key collaborators in introducing Fuentes to clients who were part of their teams, said Pedreno.

The cycling clients of Fuentes are believed to include at least one former teammate of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and dozens of other cyclists who raced against him. Fuentes disclosed during the trial that he treated not just cyclists, but also players from different sports like soccer and boxing. The star witness of prosecutors is Jesus Manzano, a former cyclist who collapsed during the 2003 Tour de France after a treatment from Fuentes. Manzano testified in the court that Fuentes injected him with 50 milliliters of Oxyglobin, a drug made for dogs, and added that the doctor hid steroids in empty wine bottles and handed out mysterious pills.

Meanwhile, the sport’s ruling body’s president Pat Mcquaid said the cycling community has moved over from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and UCI’s doping process has now been properly equipped to counter the doping challenge. McQuaid added the issue would not be a deterrent for young cyclists to come into cycling and they should view icons like Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins who can be their role models. He also remarked that the now-banned cyclist doped 10 to 15 years back and he used products that were undetectable at that time. Now, the UCI has come up with much stronger and much sophisticated process of halting doping such as biological passport.

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Wednesday 20, Feb 2013

  Tyler Hamilton Points Finger At Fuentes In Operation Puerto Trial

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Tyler Hamilton Points Finger At Fuentes In Operation Puerto Trial

On Tuesday, American cyclist Tyler Hamilton described in detail how Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes who is at the center of the Operation Puerto trial oversaw his program of blood doping and supplied him with banned substances including Erythropoietin (EPO).

The former teammate and friend of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, Hamilton was speaking through an interpreter by video link from the Spanish embassy in Washington and spoke for approximately three hours about his time as a patient of the Spanish doctor between 2002-04 when the rider paid him as much as 110,000 euros ($146,900) for his services. The 41-year-old Hamilton came clean about his doping past in an award-winning book ‘The Secret Race’, and revealed he met Eufemiano Fuentes at a clinic or in apartments in Madrid and Monaco and in “many, many hotel rooms” and the pair spoke and sent text messages using “secret phones”.

While the Spanish doctor was watching him on a large-screen television, Hamilton told the court that his blood transfusion under the direction of the doctor was in March 2002 and he said he had met him “probably 15 times”, each time having blood extracted or reinjected. The relationship between Tyler Hamilton and Eufemiano Fuentes ended in September 2004 when traces of someone else’s blood were found in one of the samples of the cyclist and he was suspended for a period of two years.

In August 2012, Hamilton was stripped of the time-trial gold medal he won at the 2004 Athens Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Hamilton also told the court the Spanish doctor have him a calendar with a schedule of races and a schedule of when to take what performance enhancing drugs and said Fuentes gave him EPO if he remembers correctly. Hamilton, wearing a light gray suit, white shirt, and striped tie, said he provided me with EPO, growth hormone, insulin, and testosterone and the cyclist added that his greatest fear was something like the Operation Puerto trial happening.

The Spanish doctor and four other defendants, including his sister Yolanda, are making an appearance in the court almost seven years after anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment, and numbered blood bags were seized by police as part of the Puerto investigation. Fuentes has revealed that he had clients in sports including soccer, tennis, athletics, and boxing. The doctor and other accused are being tried for violating public health regulations and the prosecutor has asked for prison terms of two years as the present anti-doping legislation of Spain was not in force in 2006 when the police raids took place. Hamilton was questioned about whether he had been warned of the possible risks from blood doping and if he had any negative reaction to the transfusions or drugs. The cyclist said during the Tour de France in July of 2004, he had a transfusion that gave him a bad fever and his urine was black when he went to the bathroom. When asked if he had anything more to say, Tyler Hamilton rendered an apology for breaking the rules. The trial is set to end on March 22.

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Monday 28, Jan 2013

  Cycling’s Reputation To Be Tarnished More

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Cycling’s Reputation To Be Tarnished More

The long-delayed Operation Puerto case finally goes to court in Spain. This could possibly mean more damaging revelations for cycling as well as the world governing body of the sport, the UCI.

The central figures of one of the game’s most sophisticated and widespread doping networks will stand trial in the Criminal Court of Madrid seven years after Spanish investigators uncovered the doping scandal.

The case is expected to be last until March 22 that will be presided by Judge Julia Santamaria, 35 witnesses are called to testify to try five defendants, including doctors Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes, brother-and-sister suspects at the heart of a complex blood-doping ring. Manolo Saiz, former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director, as well as Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both associated with the former Kelme team are among others on trial. Another medical doctor, Jose Luis Merino, was also to be tried, but Santamaria granted him a temporary stay on after he presented medical reports stating he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The list of witnesses includes two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, and Jan Ullrich were some of the cyclists who were implicated in the doping ring.

The judge can only pass a ruling on matters that are covered by Spanish law as it applied in May 2006 when a mass of evidence in labs, offices and apartments in Madrid, Zaragoza and El Escorial was uncovered during police raids. This means that the scope of the trial may only emphasize on charges relating to actions that could “endanger public health” but it is still believed the trial will open up some new revelations about athletes who cheated to get an unfair advantage. Defense lawyers, on the other hand, will argue that the defendants didn’t endanger the health of the cyclists as they relied on the best available technology.

Eduardo Esteban, spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office, said the anti-doping agency of Spain or a sports federation may open an investigation to find out if they could ban an athlete if one of the defendants reveal that he injected the athlete. Miguel Angel Adan, a spokesman for Spain’s anti-doping agency, said the agency is studying the possibility.

The proceedings will be followed closely by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which will be a party to the trial along with the International Cycling Union, the Italian Olympic Committee, the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams, and former cyclist Jesus Manzano. WADA director general David Howman however said it is disappointing to learn that the Operation Puerto case trial is limited to cycling, as athletes from other sports were also implicated but said they are still getting a hearing and have expressed their frustration. The failure to explore the work of Fuentes outside cycling in the Madrid court has infuriated WADA and led to accusations of a possible cover-up for limiting the impact on Spain’s sporting reputation. It is believed that the tainted doctor admitted to assisting footballers and tennis stars with doping.

This doping scandal after the recent Lance Armstrong doping confession will surely hurt the reputation of cycling as a clean sport.

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Tuesday 22, Jan 2013

  Spain Accused Of A Doping Cover-Up

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Spain Accused Of A Doping Cover-Up

The Spanish government has been accused of suppressing evidence that linked tennis and football stars to a notorious doctor. The doctor will go on trial in Madrid in the next few days and has been described as a “one-man Wal-Mart” of doping.

Spanish detectives have been collecting evidence from all across Europe against Dr Eufemiano Fuentes since first raiding his offices in 2006. The investigation, known as “Operation Puerto”, has disclosed one of the most extensive drug rings in the history of sports. The appearance of Fuentes will mark the start of a trial expected to last two months; the doctor has been charged with public health offenses and the rampant culture of drug use in cycling may get exposed again, just a few days after the dramatic confession of the disgraced cycling champion, Lance Armstrong, to Oprah Winfrey on US television.

The Spanish authorities have ruled that the case will only cover his involvement in cycling despite the fact that the tainted doctor has freely admitted to working with professional cyclists, tennis, and football players. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been left infuriated by the failure to explore the work of Fuentes outside cycling in court. Dave Howman, WADA’s director general, said the agency has been banging its heads against a brick wall to get access to evidence that was collected and it is not only frustrating and disappointing but it also means that many athletes who might be dirty have been allowed to compete. Howman further added that the anti-doping agency is told that the doctor’s patients were across a number of sports and it was disappointing that cycling was the only sport isolated.

Spain was something of a wild west frontier for doping before the Operation Puerto case as it was not illegal in Spain at the time.

The International Cycling Union (UCI)  president Pat McQuaid said it is disappointing to learn that only cycling was investigated despite the fact that Fuentes said it himself, 30 per cent of his clients were cyclists.

During a raid on the office of Fuentes, police found fridges filled with bags of blood and labelled with code names such as Bella, Son of Ryan, and Zapatero as well as extensive written records. Star names such as Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, and Jan Ullrich were implicated along with many other cyclists in the doping ring; all 54 cyclists were eventually suspended, but many others were cleared.

Fuentes is suspected by German police to have worked with footballers at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Jorge Jaksche, whose career was ended by Operation Puerto, said the doctor boasted about his work with other sportsmen. The German rider further added that blood bags were pulled out from fridges, according to videos made by the police during the raid. These bags had specific code names written on them to identify the athletes but these names never appear in the report and there is a big cover-up by the Spanish government and remarked that there is no interest from on high in too much information coming out.

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Friday 09, Nov 2012

  Italian Cyclist Suspended After Links To Ferrari Exposed

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Italian Cyclist Suspended After Links To Ferrari Exposed

Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi has been temporarily suspended by his Lampre-ISD team after he admitted to working with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari.

The cyclist, who won the 2011 edition of the Giro d’Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of his title following a positive test for the banned drug Clenbuterol, admitted last month that he had worked with the doctor following reports in Gazzetta dello Sport linking the duo.

Ferrari played a key role in the systematic doping program employed by Lance Armstrong’s US Postal and Discovery Channel teams between 1999 and 2005 and was handed a lifetime ban from working in professional sports in July 2012. Scarponi has been suspended on a temporary basis by Lampre-ISD even though the cyclist has not admitted to any connection with doping and to working with Ferrari before he joined the team. Meanwhile, the Italian Cycling Federation is also believed to have launched an investigation which may put Scarponi “out of action for some time”.

A spokesman for Lampre-ISD said the team was following its internal medical policy and Michele Scarponi has been suspended by the team doctor Carlo Guardascione. The suspension of the Italian cyclist began on October 25 when he released his statement and the Italian Cycling Federation has been notified of the suspension, the spokesman added.

Scarponi was previously banned for 18 months for his involvement in Operation Puerto in 2007. Operación Puerto was the code name of a Spanish Police operation against the doping network of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes; the operation resulted in a scandal that involved several of the world’s most famous cyclists at the time. Scarponi admitted he was Zapatero while Jörg Jaksche admitted he was Bella in Fuentes’ files while Ivan Basso who was cleared by Italian authorities due to lack of evidence admitted involvement in the scandal to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

The Italian professional road bicycle racer was able to secure a contract with Acqua & Sapone despite been implicated in the Operación Puerto doping case in 2006. The next year he was implicated again in the Operación Puerto case and confessed his role in the case on May 8, 2007. Thereafter, he was provisionally suspended on May 15, 2007. Diquigiovanni-Androni announced on June 13, 2008 that they had signed Scarponi for the coming two seasons with the cyclist completing the ban and won the Tirreno-Adriatico and also won 2 stages in the Giro d’Italia in 2009.

The Italian cyclist was able to award himself a second place finish in the Tirreno-Adriatic and was able to finish fourth overall in the Giro d’Italia where Scarponi was able to took a prestigious victory in the epic stage 19 and went on to a win in the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda. After moving in 2011 to Lampre-ISD, Scarponi won the Giro del Trentino and the Volta a Catalunya and finished  second overall behind Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia. After Contrador was stripped of the title for using Clenbuterol which he blamed it on contaminated meat, Scarponi was assigned the title. He finished 4th overall while trying to defend his Giro title in 2012 with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal taking the overall win.

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