Cycling’s global governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has said that it will pursue the legal options available in order to analyse the contents of the blood and plasma bags seized during the Operacion Puerto doping raids.
After a prolonged legal process in Spain, a judge ruled on Tuesday that the 211 blood bags found in the Madrid clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006 can be handed over to sports authorities for analysis. The bags have been in storage for over 10 years.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
“The UCI applauds this decision,” said UCI president Brian Cookson. “Although it is regrettable that we had to wait this long, in the end the message sent is clear.”
The UCI will partner with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) and Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) in analysing DNA in the samples in order to determine who they belonged to and “where applicable, pursuing anti-doping rule violations”.
Watch: Cycling Weekly doping debate highlights
So far several high-profile cyclists have been linked to samples in Operacion Puerto, including Alejandro Valverde, Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Jörg Jacksche.
The blood bags were labelled with code names, making it hard to identify them. Athletes from other sports are also reported to have used the services of Dr Fuentes, but have never been named.
Dr Fuentes was acquitted by the judge in the Provincial Court of Madrid.