Pat McQuaid, president of the Union Cycliste International (UCI), has issued an open letter directed at Spain’s secretary of state, Sr Jaime Lissavetzky Díez, relating to the Operacion Puerto doping investigation.
McQuaid asks that the Spanish authorities do what they can to identify the riders whose blood was seized from the Madrid laboratory of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes in May, 2006. So far, of the 200 bags of blood found, only that of 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich has been positively identified via the use of DNA samples.
The letter comes in the wake of Friday’s announcement that the organisers of the Tour de France will not allow any riders implicated in Operacion Puerto to take part in this year’s Tour.
Operacion Puerto was archived in March by the judge overseeing the invesitgation due to ‘insufficient evidence’.
To: Sr Jaime Lissavetzky Díez
Secretary of State, Spain
Dear Mr Secretary of State, dear Jaime,
Almost a year ago, the Puerto affair broke out. For more than a month, the only source of information was the press, until in June 2006, a report of the Guardia Civil and its related documents were forwarded to the UCI. All the information therein was processed and forwarded to the respective National Federations, with the request to initiate further enquiries and, where applicable, disciplinary proceedings. This the National Federations did, until it became known that the examining magistrate ruled that these documents could not be used for disciplinary purposes.
From the beginning, the UCI repeatedly asked the Spanish authorities to undertake all measures in order to clarify all aspects of the affair and to do whatever was necessary to identify the individuals whose blood had been found.
On two occasions the UCI was refused the right to become a civil party to the proceedings. We were eventually admitted by the Court of Appeals in March 2007.
The UCI requested the help of WADA and WADA, in its turn, appealed to the Spanish authorities. So did the IOC. The IOC, WADA and the UCI made efforts to encourage the Spanish authorities to have the Puerto affair completely examined and clarified as soon as
However, the examining magistrate recently decided to shelve the file. The public prosecutor appealed this decision and so did the UCI.
The UCI has recently welcomed the decision of the Spanish authorities to enable the blood of one person to be identified. This was done through the intervention of foreign judicial authorities.
The UCI wants to ensure that all the blood that was found in relation to the Puerto affair is identified. A number of riders have made their DNA available to the Spanish Sports Council. Almost all riders of the ProTeams have now signed an agreement enabling their DNA to be used for matching purposes as well. The whole cycling community, and indeed the whole sports world is waiting for the identification of all athletes who are apparently or possibly involved in the affair.
I have recently discussed this matter with the Director of the Tour de France, Mr Christian Prudhomme who is very concerned that the integrity of his event may be compromised because this affair is not yet concluded.
What is still missing is agreement and action from the Spanish authorities to proceed with the identification of the blood that is in their possession or, at least, to make partial samples available for identification.
The UCI now makes an urgent appeal to you to ensure that the competent authorities do whatever is in their jurisdiction to have the Puerto affair examined down to the last detail. We rely on such action from you to help the sporting authorities deal properly with their disciplinary responsibility in the fight against doping.
This action is all the more necessary in light of indications that practices such as those discovered in the Puerto affair have not stopped.
The UCI makes this appeal to you with the full support of the IOC and WADA. All three organisations are committed to doing whatever is possible to ensure this matter is resolved.
I remain, yours truly,