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By Anthony Tan With the cases against all Spanish cyclists previously implicated in Operación Puerto...
By Anthony Tan
With the cases against all Spanish cyclists previously implicated in Operación Puerto shelved for the time being, which included six riders from the team formerly known as Liberty Seguros-Würth, Australian Allan Davis, who hails from the same team, also received news from his federation last week that he was clear to race in his home country. On Saturday in Queensland, Davis won the Noosa International Criterium for the second time, out-sprinting three-time winner and Tour de France maillot vert Robbie McEwen.
Ever since the 26 year-old from Bundaberg left the Tour de France with his team on the eve of the race, Davis has been in limbo, despite protesting his innocence against any wrongdoing from the outset. When two of his team-mates, Alberto Contador and Sergio Paulinho, were cleared of any legal investigation in early August, the path appeared to be clearing. However, at the time, UCI head Pat McQuaid was quick to ratify that the 58 riders initially implicated in Puerto were still part of an anti-doping investigation, as separate case files were being sent to the respective national cycling federations.
On October 7, the series of anti-doping investigations came to a roadblock when the Madrid court in charge of Operación Puerto told the Spanish federation (RFEC) that they were unable to take any disciplinary action until the court determines exactly what happened. Since then, the Italian cycling federation announced their investigation of Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso has been shelved due to lack of evidence, with the Spanish federation following suit last Friday, October 29.
"We sent a letter to Allan Davis' lawyer last week informing them he [Davis] was free to race in Australia," said Australian Cycling Federation (ACF) press officer Gennie Sheer to Cyclingnews. "There is nothing under our [the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)] code or the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] code that states an athlete not found guilty cannot compete."
However, Ms. Sheer noted that while Davis was free to race in Australia, the situation may not extend outside of his home country: "We were sent his case file from the UCI in mid-September, and passed it onto ASADA the very next day," she said, indicating Davis' involvement in Operación Puerto is still under investigation. "Until we hear from them, his file remains open."
While ASADA remains tight-lipped as to when a conclusion will be reached, if charged, Davis would be the first rider to be prosecuted, and in light of the cases so far, the scenario appears unlikely. As for the Puerto investigation itself, the trial is underway and is expected to be completed by mid-next year.