By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported in its Friday edition that the antidoping laboratory of Barcelona has detected traces of EPO in eight of the bags of blood analyzed for the Operación Puerto investigation. The lab's report was sent to the judge involved in the affair, but it did not identify any racers implicated by the results. The bags were among those found in Madrid by the Spanish national Guardia Civil earlier in 2006.
According to the Spanish newspaper El País, "Although the judge sent 99 bags for the analysis, they only examined the most suspicious ones, and in eight of them, high amounts of recombinant EPO were detected. In the report, no riders are identified by name, only the numbers and the codes used by Eufemiano Fuentes." El País clarified that "the judge requested analysis only of those bags which contained plasma, but not those ones which contain red cells." The Barcelona lab is accredited by the International Olympic Committee and by WADA.
Eufemiano Fuentes's lawyer, Julián Pérez Templado, commented to El Mundo, "We have no official results from the Barcelona lab," and reminded that "the traces of EPO in the blood bags do not prove that any crime against the public health has been committed." Fuentes is one of eight persons accused in the ongoing investigation. Pro racers allegedly visited Dr. Fuentes' clinic to have blood extracted for doping or to collect performance-enhancing drugs.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto