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Catalan police break up doping ring in Girona

By:
Peter Cossins
Published:
February 18, 2011, 11:50 GMT,
Updated:
February 18, 2011, 12:12 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 18, 2011
It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling

It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling

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Pro rider tipped off police after being offered banned substances

Police in Catalonia have made seven arrests as part of an investigation into an alleged doping ring based on the city of Girona. None of the seven are professional cyclists. However, one well-connected Spanish journalist has said that a former Kelme pro rider, Jordi Riera, is among those detained, which has been backed up by details in the Catalan press.

According to initial reports, the investigation, codenamed Cursa, began in December after police received a tip-off from a pro rider based in the town of Olot, near to Girona. The rider had been contacted via email and offered banned substances.

Catalan police are reported to have found a number of banned products during five searches undertaken as part of the investigation. Among the products found were clenbuterol, nandrolone, growth hormone and EPO. All are said to have been imported into Spain from Portugal and Andorra by one supplier. Members of the group subsequently sold them on in local gyms to amateur athletes, triathletes and cyclists.

According to Catalan newspaper El Periódico, some of the EPO found by police had been stolen from a haemodialysis unit in a medical centre. The paper has also reported that more than 12,000 doses of banned products have been seized.

The investigation is reported to be ongoing and more arrests may be made.

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