Report: WADA has custody of Puerto blood bags
LIMOGES, France (VN) — Could the world finally find out whose blood is inside those 200 bags linked to the Operación Puerto doping scandal? Perhaps.
The Spanish digital newspaper El Español reported Tuesday that blood bag evidence has been in the custody of the World Anti-Doping Agency since last Thursday.
VeloNews was unable to confirm the information with WADA officials due to the late hour overnight in Europe, but the Madrid-based newspaper reported WADA is ready to test the blood bags and attempt to identify the source of the blood.
If true, the decade-long mystery of the identity of some of the Puerto clients dating back to the 2006 scandal perhaps could finally be revealed.
In mid-June, a Spanish appeals court absolved Puerto ringleader Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes of wrongdoing, yet ruled to release blood bag evidence to anti-doping authorities.
The 2006 Puerto scandal rocked cycling, and involved some of the peloton’s biggest names, including Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, and Tyler Hamilton. There has always been a mystery surrounding the identity of other unnamed Fuentes clients, a list that could include other sporting figures as well.
Whether WADA can accurately identify the blood bags, and perhaps issue sporting bans remains to be seen.
The WADA code has a 10-year statute of limitations on doping offences, and the Spanish court’s June ruling came just weeks after Puerto’s decade-long window closed.
Speaking to VeloNews ahead of the Tour de France last Friday, UCI president Brian Cookson said WADA and UCI lawyers were still investigating the legal ramifications of the Puerto evidence. Cookson did not indicate that WADA already had the blood bags.
“If something new comes up, of course, we will investigate and take action,” Cookson said. “It’s more important to look to the future. … In terms of the past, I am not sure there is too much ‘new’ to find out that we don’t already know.”