Spanish cycling has been thrown into drug-related disarray once again after former champion mountain biker Alberto Leon was implicated in a major new doping probe.
Leon was arrested with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and 13 others on Thursday in Operation Galgo (Greyhound). Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that anti-doping agents found several bags of blood in Leon’s fridge in the town of El Escorial, north of Madrid.
Publico newspaper said the alleged plot is headed by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his sister Yolanda, also a doctor. The police investigation which has been underway since last April focused on the Fuentes siblings and Alberto Leon who allegedly supplied banned substances and who is accused of close collaboration with the two doctors, the Spanish paper reported. [
Spanish police said that Eufemiano Fuentes, Yolanda Fuentes and Alberto Leon worked to a calendar of targeted events from the coaches of various sportspeople and formulated a doping programme involving banned substances. The trio is also awaiting trial in relation to the ongoing 2006 anti-doping Operation Puerto.
Since that operation began Leon has hit out at the press for publishing his address and maintained that he was only a “humble worker”.
Doctor Fuentes, and his sister Yolanda, have so far evaded criminal action in relation to Operation Puerto as have the many riders implicated because of the lack of a specific anti-doping law. More than 50 professional riders including Tour de France contenders Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were affected by Puerto on doping allegations. Top Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde was suspended for 24 months earlier this year. In total Puerto cast a stain on 200 professional athletes including tennis and football stars from the Spanish first division.
Operation Greyhound took place across five provinces, with raids on 15 residences. Police seized a large quantity of anabolic steroids, hormones and EPO, laboratory equipment for blood transfusions, and “abundant” documentation of doping procedures.
World steeplechase holder Marta Domínguez was also arrested. The prominent athlete was released on bail on charges of trafficking and distribution of doping substances after more than six hours of questioning in Palencia, reported Publico. She has been temporarily suspended of her position as vice president of the Spanish Athletics Federation.
The doping allegations come as Tour de France champion Alberto Contador awaits the decision by the Spanish governing body into his failed test for clenbuterol this summer.
Spanish time trail champion Luis León Sánchez, who was incorrectly named as one of the detainees by Telecinco TV channel in initial reports, is considering whether to take legal action.