The Spanish judge in charge of the Operación Puerto case has begun issuing subpoenas to the implicated riders, according to the Spanish sports news daily As. The first two riders to receive the summons are Alberto Contador and Jesus Hernandez, both of whom rode for Manolo Saiz' Liberty Seguros team, although Hernandez transferred from Liberty Seguros to the Spanish continental team Relax-GAM for the 2006 season.
The judge, Antonio Serrano, reportedly plans to call most of the 58 riders named in the police report to Madrid to testify. Contador and Hernandez are scheduled to appear on December 11, and were likely chosen first because they reside near Madrid. Both riders were cleared of any involvement in the case by the UCI earlier this summer, and allowed to race.
The judge reiterated his previous orders that the documents of the case are not to be used by national federations as evidence to sanction riders, despite a strongly-worded plea from UCI president Pat McQuaid to the Spanish minister of sport urging the reversal of this decision. McQuaid was contacted regarding the news of the subpoenas, and told Cyclingnews "If it moves the investigation forward, then that is a good thing. I also saw in the media that the Spanish judge may consider opening up things, with regards to us being able to use the files. If that is true then it is a positive development."
The testimony of riders implicated in the case will be gathered over the course of the next few months in the case in which eight people were charged with crimes against public health. None of the riders face criminal charges at the moment, since doping was not illegal at the time of the arrests, although an anti-doping law was passed in November.
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