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Operation Puerto continues to cause confusion - while Italy has decided there is not enough evidence...
Operation Puerto continues to cause confusion - while Italy has decided there is not enough evidence to continue the disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Basso at this time, the Swiss have announced they are planning to go ahead with hearings against Jan Ullrich, as reported previously. When asked if the hearings will be held, Lorenz SchlÃ¤fli, director of Swiss Cycling, confirmed, but could not say when it would happen. "We have received the papers," he told German netzeitung. "But we must receive more. One or two additional pieces are missing." He denied that the UCI was holding up the papers, and said that the problem was the investigating judge in Spain. "He gives the documents away reluctantly, as his hearings are not complete."
According to L'Equipe, Antonio Serrano, the judge in charge of the Puerto trial is on a holiday until November 2. Serrano is currently replaced by Carmelo Jimenez, who told national federations that the Puerto documents could not be used against the riders on a sports-disciplinary level. Some observers seem to believe that Serrano, upon his return to office, could handle this differently than his colleague.
Back in Germany, Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Micheal Holczer doesn't believe that the affair will cease to cause repercussions in the sport. "I'm not worried that it will all come to nothing," he said. "The case is not closed."
Holczer cited the ProTour Code of Ethics, which prohibits the teams from signing riders under suspicion of doping. He also expected a case concerning Ullrich to come before the Court of Arbitration for Sports. "As long as Ullrich is not absolutely cleared, no team will allow itself to sign him," he said.