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Another Spanish doping ring uncovered by police raids

By:
Shane Stokes
Published:
November 24, 2009, 22:23 GMT,
Updated:
November 24, 2009, 23:08 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Some forms of blood doping can only be detected through the passports.

Some forms of blood doping can only be detected through the passports.

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Former Kelme doctor arrested, along with many others

Investigations are ongoing after Spanish police today arrested a Peruvian doctor Walter Viru on suspicion of running a doping ring.

Viru is a former collaborator with the disgraced Eufemiano Fuentes, who was detained over three years ago as part of the Operacion Puerto affair. Like Fuentes, he formerly worked as a team doctor for the Kelme squad.

A dozen people were also taken into custody in Barcelona, Valencia, Murcia and Granada. This group includes two pharmacists suspected of dispensing banned substances, as well as several doctors.

The network reportedly distributed EPO, CERA and growth hormones.

The homes of several cyclists were also raided, according to various Spanish media sources, as was that of a prominent Spanish race walker.

The raids turned up banned substances in Viru’s clinic in Valencia, as well as documentation proving his involvement in the network.

Investigations are continuing and further arrests are possible.

The Operacion Puerto raids carried out in May 2006 uncovered a huge network of doping, involving some of the top competitors in world cycling as well as athletes from other sports. However the names of the latter were never disclosed, prompting accusations of a cover-up.

Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were two of the most famous of the cyclists, and were excluded from that year’s Tour de France as a result.

Ullrich retired from pro cycling, while Basso served a lengthy suspension. 2009 Vuelta a España winner Alejandro Valverde was also implicated, and while he was not sanctioned, he faces two CAS hearings in the near future.

The affair led to a change in Spanish law; as a result, those involved in the latest case could face criminal charges.

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