Contador, Basso and Scarponi summoned as witnesses in Puerto trial
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Contador, Basso and Scarponi summoned as witnesses in Puerto trial

by Shane Stokes at 5:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Large number of riders to be called before Spanish court

Operacion PuertoTriple Tour winner Alberto Contador, double Giro champion Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi are part of a group of riders who have been summoned to testify in the trial relating to Operacion Puerto, where individuals such as the controversial doctor Eufemiano Fuentes could be given prison sentences.

In March prosecutors requested that Fuentes and former Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz be handed two year prison terms for their part in the affair, which supplied banned products to a large number of sportspeople.

The Puerto doping network was exposed when Spanish police carried out doping raids in Madrid and elsewhere in May 2006.

According to AS, the three riders have been instructed to appear at the hearing, which will take place at an unspecified time in the future.

Basso and Scarponi were both given long suspensions as a result of their part in the affair, while Contador was initially implicated but then later cleared by the Spanish cycling federation RFEC.

The triple Tour de France winner is currently awaiting a decision relating to his appeal hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France.

According to AS, legal sources have said that several of those involved with the case have proposed that he appear as a witness. It is not immediately clear if he has been called by the prosecution, the defence or both sides.

Those sources have also said that the examining magistrate, Antonio Serrano, has been given prosecution and defence arguments from those connected to the case. The next step is that this evidence will be considered by a criminal court, which will then decide what is admissible. It will also determine a date for the hearing.

Fuentes, his sister Yolanda, Saiz, Alfredo Cordova and Jose Luis Merino, who was chief of medical haematology at La Princesa Hospital in Madrid, are expected to be tried.

Biciciclismo reported in November that Comunitat Valenciana team directors Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta will also be grilled. Today’s report added that a doctor from the Spanish cycling federation will be called as a witness.

The prosecution comprises bodies such as the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), the UCI, and the Italian Olympic Committee, and wants the aforementioned pro riders plus those who raced with the Liberty Seguros team to testify.

Operación Puerto reportedly involved approximately 200 sportspeople, but the only ones who were identified were cyclists, who comprised a quarter of this total. There were persistent rumours that Spanish footballers, athletes, tennis players and others were involved, but the national federations of those sports did not dig deeper and the issue faded away for them.

Fuentes has stated on several occasions that he treated those from other sports. He has reportedly insinuated that if the case goes to trial that a lot of big names could be exposed.


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