Spanish doctor's trial over cycling doping
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 6:46p.m.
The first day of Spain's long-awaited Operation Puerto trial ended without any new revelations about doping in cycling on Monday, as the presiding judge heard only legal arguments instead of testimony from defendants and witnesses.
In the wake of Lance Armstrong's doping admissions, five defendants are due to be cross-examined in a Madrid courtroom in connection with a sophisticated blood doping network uncovered by police seven years ago.
The alleged ringleader, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, was in court on Monday, but judge Julia Santamaria only reviewed legal details with lawyers before deciding to leave testimony until Tuesday.
The trial is limited to doping in cycling, even though athletes in other sports were also reportedly implicated in the discovery of blood bags and other doping equipment in 2006.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has pushed for all the evidence to be released.
The much-delayed trial, in which 35 witnesses are expected to testify, is due to last until 22 March.
Santamaria can only rule on matters covered by Spanish law as it applied in May 2006, when police raids uncovered a mass of blood doping evidence in labs, offices and apartments.
The case will focus on whether public health was endangered at any point.
Fuentes allegedly stored bags containing high concentrations of haemoglobin-rich red cells taken from the riders' own blood so it could be re-injected in competition when they needed a performance boost.
Retired cyclist Jesus Manzano turned whistle-blower after suffering medical problems he said were caused by the doping practices while riding for team Kelme.
"He's lost his entire professional career, Mr. Manzano stopped being a professional cyclist," his lawyer Carlos Sanchez told reporters outside court.
Sanchez said the trial must determine whether the blood extractions, transfusions, storage, transport and the labelling of human plasma and blood could have represented a health risk.
Also on trial are Fuentes' sister and fellow doctor Yolanda Fuentes; Manolo Saiz, a former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director; and Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, both associated with the former Kelme team.
Jose Luis Merino, another medical doctor, was also due to be tried, but Santamaria granted him a temporary stay last week after he presented medical reports stating that he is suffering from Alzheimer's.
Although no riders will sit in the dock, many will be called to testify as witnesses, including two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
He was stripped of a third Tour title after testing positive for clenbuterol.
Cyclists themselves will not be on trial because of the legal limitations of the case, but there is great interest in case other sports - such as football and tennis - get mentioned as evidence is given.
Several hundred blood and plasma bags were seized by police but the Puerto case has only implicated just over 50 cyclists - including Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
Video highlights, live stream commentary, live updates as th...
While sports like rugby often struggle to keep their best pl...
While the Otago Highlanders are bottom of the Super Rugby ta...
An emotional Ali Williams has called full time on his All Bl...
You asked and we answered: Sam Ackerman presents The League ...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.