The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have confirmed that they have jointly obtained samples from blood and plasma bags seized 10 years ago in the Operation Puerto doping investigation.
In separate statements, both organisations made it clear that the samples were being stored outside Spain in a WADA-accredited laboratory.
The release of the samples comes after the recent ruling by the Madrid Court of Appeal that WADA, the UCI and other organisations could finally access the blood and plasma samples that were seized from the Madrid clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006. It was the end of a protracted legal wrangle as WADA attempted to gain access to the samples.
The 211 samples belong to cyclists and other sportspeople, who were potentially involved with blood doping organised by Fuentes. Several cyclists, including Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich, have already been sanctioned as a result of the investigation but others have yet to be identified.
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“The UCI and WADA will continue their joint investigation into Operation Puerto, and will consider all possible legal options,” both statements read.
It is likely that DNA from the samples will be checked against athlete’s DNA profiles already held by WADA and the UCI to help identify the owners of the samples.