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Team Blanco investigate Luis Leon Sanchez's links to Operacion Puerto

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 26, 2013, 17:31 GMT,
Updated:
January 26, 2013, 17:26 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 26, 2013
An emotional Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) on the podium after taking over the lead at the Tour de Romandie.

An emotional Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) on the podium after taking over the lead at the Tour de Romandie.

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Dutch media suggest the Spaniard was code-named Huerto

Team Blanco has said it will investigate accusations that Luis Leon Sanchez is implicated in Operacion Puerto after reports in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad suggested that he was known by the code-name of Huerto and number 26.

Sanchez has always denied doping but was part of the Liberty Seguros team in 2006 that was hit by the Spanish police investigation and saw police discover dozens of bags of blood in Eufemiano Fuentes's lab in Madrid. Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michele Scarponi, Alejandro Valverde and others have all served bans for doping.

It seems a conversation between Fuentes and former directeur sportif and coach Ignacio Labarta helped NRC identify Sanchez as being Huerto.

The Operacion Puerto trial finally begins in Madrid on Monday after years of delays.

Sanchez was named as a possible client of Dr Michele Ferrari after police testimony by Volodymyr Bileka said Sanchez was seen training in St Moritz with other riders. Sanchez was a member of the Caisse d'Epargne team at the time and joined Rabobank in 2011. The Rabobank team admitted that Sanchez had worked with Dr. Ferrari but Sanchez had insisted that no doping was involved.

Team Blanco manager Richard Plugge has tried to take a firm stand against doping after Rabobank ended their backing of the team. He told the De Telegraaf newspaper: "New data has now emerged. We will therefore certainly confront him," he said. "We already knew that this would come out. Now we know what kind of information it is, we can explain this to him and we can give him time to react."

Sanchez won the Clasica San Sebastian in 2012 and stage 14 of the Tour de France to Foix. Soon after he was given a new contract worth a reported 2.4 million Euro for three years by the former Rabobank management, according to NRC.

 

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