WADA raps Spanish court over Puerto blood bag delays

A year has passed since WADA appealed to the Spanish courts to preserve blood bags from the Operacion Puerto doping investigation

Doping in cycling

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has rapped Madrid's Criminal Court over the lack of action after the agency lodged an appeal a year ago against the decision to destroy blood bags and other evidence seized during the Operacion Puerto drug bust.

"WADA’s Foundation Board expressed its disappointment at the substantial delay in the case of Operation Puerto, following WADA’s decision to appeal to the Criminal Court in Madrid on 17 May 2013," said WADA in a statement.

"The Foundation Board stated that the lack of progress in the case was sending the wrong message to clean athletes right across the world. The Foundation Board was of the view that the Spanish authorities should conclude the case at the earliest possible opportunity."

WADA - along with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) - want to see the contents of the blood bags analysed to ascertain whether their are any links to further athletes. It is thought that the bags are still in frozen storage.

The 2006 Operacion Puerto investigation centred on a doping ring run from the Madrid clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, which assisted many top professional cyclists and other athletes to dope and administer blood transfusions.

Over 200 code-named blood and plasma bags were seized during the investigation. Several cyclists served suspensions for their links to case, including Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi, Jorg Jaksche and Alejandro Valverde.

Fuentes was given a one-year suspended sentence for 'endangering public health' in April 2013 and was struck off the medical register for four years.

Xenon banned

WADA has announced that xenon and argon have been added to its list of prohibited substances after it was found that unscrupulous athletes were inhaling the substances to artificially increase erythropoietin (EPO) levels to stimulate red blood cell production. Section S.2.1 of WADA's 2014 Prohibited List has been amended as follows:


The following substances, and other substances with similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s), are prohibited:

1. Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents [e.g. erythropoietin (EPO), darbepoetin (dEPO), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers and activators (e.g. xenon, argon), methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (CERA), peginesatide (Hematide)]

The ban will come into effect after three months, giving national anti-doping authorities time to reflect the amendment in their policy and procedures.

Operacion Puerto doctor found guilty of endangering public health

Dr Eufemiano Fuentes give one year sentence for his part in Spanish organised doping ring

Operacion Puerto: open and closed doors

As the Spanish Operacion Puerto trial gets into its stride, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and four others may have been charged

Operacion Puerto doping ring suspects finally go on trial

Five years after anti-doping investigation kicks off, Manolo Saiz and Dr Eufemiano Fuentes on trial

Operacion Puerto's doctor Fuentes under investigation again in new anti-doping raids

Fuentes and one cyclist amongst those reported investigated in new anti-doping probe

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.