Alberto Contador reportedly heading back to court as witness in Operacion Puerto case
Spanish press says Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi will be required to take the stand
Alberto Contador, who is due to learn his fate in the coming days regarding the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) into his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, may be heading back to court, this time as a witness in the Operacion Puerto case. Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi are among other big-name cyclists reportedly due to appear as witnesses when the case finally goes to trial.
In November last year, it was confirmed that the sports physician Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and former ONCE and Manolo Saiz, manager of Contador’s former Liberty Seguros-Würth team, would stand trial, along with five others, for their alleged roles in the blood doping ring, exposed in May 2006.
Spanish sports daily AS now reports that investigating magistrate Antonio Serrano is in receipt of arguments outlined by both the prosecution and that the criminal court handling the case will examine the admissibility of evidence before setting a date for the hearing and formally calling witnesses.
AS cites legal sources as confirming that Contador, now riding for Saxo Bank and who was initially investigated as part of the anti-doping investigation but formally cleared of any links to it in July of that year, will be required to give evidence, although it is unclear whether that will be for the prosecution or the defence.
Likewise, Basso and Scarponi, each of whom served bans as a result of their links to the enquiry, are also said to be in line to testify, the latter for the prosecution, along with members of the former Liberty Seguros-Würth team.
News of the Operacion Puerto scandal and subsequent enquiry led to a number of riders implicated being excluded from that year’s Tour de France. In all, it was said to have involved more than 200 athletes across a range of sports, including track and field, football and tennis, although only cyclists have ever been formally named.
With professional cyclists only making up around a quarter of the professional sportsmen and women said to be involved, the trial, which may not take place until next year due to a backlog of cases, could well result in some explosive revelations that go well beyond cycling.