Cycling: Spain court reverses decision to destroy blood bags in doping case

Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is surrounded by media as he enters a courthouse on the first day of the Operation Puerto doping trial in Madrid, on Jan 28, 2013.
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is surrounded by media as he enters a courthouse on the first day of the Operation Puerto doping trial in Madrid, on Jan 28, 2013.PHOTO: REUTERS

AFP - A Spanish court ruled on Tuesday that authorities be given access to blood bags seized as part of a major doping probe, which may allow them to identify sportspeople implicated in the so-called Operation Puerto scandal.

The Madrid court ruled that the bags be handed over to entities such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) in the blood-doping investigation that affects cycling and other sports, overruling a 2013 decision by a judge to destroy them on privacy grounds.

"The stated aim is to fight doping," the court said in a statement, adding that there was "a risk that other sportspeople could be tempted by doping".

The decision comes over three years after a judge found Dr Eufemiano Fuentes guilty of endangering public health by performing blood transfusions on top cyclists.

So far only cyclists, including 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, have been publicly named as being Fuentes' clients, but the doctor admitted during the trial to having worked with footballers, tennis players and boxers.