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UCI and WADA say Operacion Puerto blood bags now stored outside Spain

Organisations say they will explore "all possible legal actions" after taking receipt of samples...

The UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have confirmed that they are now in possession of bags containing blood and plasma originally seized by Spanish police in 2006 as part of the Operacion Puerto anti-doping investigation.

The news follows a ruling by the Madrid court of appeal last month that the samples, which a judge sitting in a criminal court in 2013 had been ordered to be destroyed, should be released to the relevant anti-doping authorities.

> Court orders release of Puerto blood bags

According to the UCI and WADA, the samples are now being stored in a WADA-accredited laboratory outside Spain, and they said that they “will continue their joint investigation … and will consider all possible legal options.”

Given that more than a decade has elapsed since they were seized, it is unclear whether disciplinary proceedings can be taken against athletes matched to any samples, since there is an eight-year statute of limitations under the version of the World Anti-Doping Code in force at the time.

Operacion Puerto was centred around sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who treated clients from a wide range of sports, many of them professional cyclists.

Only five riders have ever been sanctioned, and none by the Spanish authorities.

Alejandro Valverde, Michele Scarponi and Ivan Basso were all banned as a result of proceedings instituted by the Italian Olympic committee, CONI, while the German authorities banned Jorg Jaksche and Jan Ulrich.

The UCI and WADA said they would make no further comment at this stage.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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