Cycling: Spanish probe into trio with 'Armstrong links'

MADRID (AFP) - Spain's anti-doping agency (AEA) revealed on Friday that prosecutors had opened an investigation into three individuals suspected of having links to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

"A tribunal in the Alicante region has informed us that they have opened an inquiry relating to two Spanish doctors, Luis Garcia del Moral and Pedro Celaya, and a physical trainer, Pepe Marti, in relation to the Armstrong affair," an AEA source told AFP.

It was the AEA, who in October of last year, just after the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) released its Armstrong report, that first noted the trio could have been guilty of "acts constituting a crime" and alerted the public prosecutor's office.

The Usada report led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and receiving a lifetime ban from the sport.

In the Usada report, the names of the two doctors were brought up by several witnesses, including Garmin-Sharp team manager Jonathan Vaughter, a former teammate of Armstrong's, who accused the pair of having played a central role in the doping network at the heart of the US Postal team, latterly Discovery Channel, between 1999 and 2005.

Meanwhile Marti, who continued to work until 2009 with Armstrong's team manager, Johan Bruyneel, was portrayed as someone responsible for distributing the doping products to members of the American team.

In October, Del Moral had for his part denied any participation in the doping scandal in a letter sent to the media.

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