Tondo named as rider who tipped off police about Catalan doping ring
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Tondo named as rider who tipped off police about Catalan doping ring

by Shane Stokes at 11:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spanish rider helps establish Operación Cursa

Xavier TondoTeam Movistar rider Xavier Tondo has been named by the Spanish media as being the rider who tipped police off about a doping network and thus helped to lead to the Operación Cursa investigation.

Reports early on Friday stated that raids were carried out in several different areas in Catalunya, with seven people arrested on suspicion of providing banned products to sportspeople. Amongst the products allegedly being sold were the blood booster EPO, the lean muscle promoter Clenbuterol, nandrolone, steroids and growth hormones.

Various media outlets stated that a pro cyclist had been offered banned products in December via anonymous email and reported this, leading to the launching of the operation. According to El Pais, a former Kelme rider named Jordi Riera was one of the suppliers. He rode the Giro with the Spanish squad in 2003, and then three years later tested positive for the steroid Stanozol and human chorionic gonadotrophin during the Volta a Catalunya.

Riera’s Facebook page lists several well-known names in his acquaintances list, including Tondo. It is not clear if Riera was the person who originally contacted the 33 year old, who competed with the Cervelo Test Team last year.

According to police, a large number of the customers of the doping ring were amateur sportspeople rather than those at professional level. A minor was also a consumer, and this providing of dangerous substances to a young customer has the potential to lead to even stiffer sentencing under the crimes against public health legislation.

El Pais also states that the EPO sold originated in a hospital in Mollet, Barcelona, from where it was stolen by a worker there. In total over 12,000 doses of doping substances were seized.

Seven sportspeople appeared in court today [Friday] in Olot, charged with crimes of conspiracy and the trafficking of doping substances. Five of those face charges, while the remaining two were sent home as it is believed their involvement is more minor.

Tondo’s action is something which will be welcomed by many in the sport, as it shows a professional rider who is willing to act to help cycling.


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