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

Cycling News
January 26, 2013, 17:31,
January 26, 2013, 17:26
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.

  • An emotional Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) on the podium after taking over the lead at the Tour de Romandie.
  • 2009 Paris-Nice champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
  • Tour de Romandie general classification leader Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)

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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.


PhrediePhly More than 1 year ago
Spanish dopers! Oh no say it isnt so
JackSpoke More than 1 year ago
Yup, but are we any better? I it is time to stop complaining about other countries when our riders have been doping for years. Time to worry about our own doping problem first.
epofuel More than 1 year ago
JackSpoke, Agreed. It´s a deep issue in this sport and affects every country. To think the problem is isolated to one for a handful of courntries and not others is absurd. Spain is drowning in it, so is the US. Thanks for reminding us.
DrBigRing More than 1 year ago
Leaves me wondering whether cycling will ever be able to move forward if it remains chained to its past. Incredible that Operation Puerto trials are only now just beginning. After all we've learned about Armstrong, it seems more like a question of who wasn't doping back then versus who was.
Clausfarre More than 1 year ago
If only Fuentes would deliver the goods (names, not drugs!). If only.....
Matt Cartwright More than 1 year ago
I think the Spanish 'doping problem' is everyone’s problem, not ours and theirs, as the vast majority of doping products seem to come out of Spain - in many cases products used for doping can be brought over the counter - and the doctors tend to register in Spain for the same reason. Well that and the fact that Spanish cycling authorities show no real interest in going after dopers, especially if they are Spanish, I kind of think that the Valverde (Banned by the Italians was it) and Contador (The president got involved to assure everyone he was innocent) incidents illustrate that.
Chemainiac More than 1 year ago
On and on it goes. Anyone of the riders at the top, especially the Spaniards, are tarnished. Cycling is littered with dopers and yet there is silence from the broadcasters at the Tour Down Under. Do they chose to be ignorant or do they take us for fools? Neither is acceptable. Too many in the media are playing games and complicit by not asking hard questiosn. We need all the names and a one strike policy going forward. No second chances.
epofuel More than 1 year ago
The Tour Down Under is another example of a silly race with no history where the promoters go whichever way the winds of profit blow. While Lance was profitable, they LOVED him! But they knew, even then. Now he´s not, so there is no doping? He is not welcome? What changed? The doping was there all along. They didn´t want to see it, and chose not to. Absurd. Silly, vanilla race.
ridleyrider More than 1 year ago
Used to believe in the Spanish = Doping equation. This does not help. Still have to reserve a bit for one basic piece of reality. It was probably easier to be involved in doping in Spain due to the notoriously lax anti-doping laws. Look at the non-Spanish names involved in Puerto. From that, I choose to have the perspective that the non-Spanish population had to be considerably more covert in their actions. In otherwords, just as many racers from other countries dope, but since they have had to be more devious in the construct of their program, it is harder to catch them. Far too much evidence suggests doping is more than rampant - it is Status Quo. Rabobank demonstrated this. U.S. Postal demonstrated this. T-Moblie seemed to be on the verge of a MAJOR doping scandal but managed to side-step THAT land mine. (What happened there anyway? How did this one disappear so easily?) The arguement I hear frequently is "That is so yesterday, we have new teams now and new policies". Not buying it. Not one bit. These new teams and new policies are made by the same flippin' management teams and racers that were involved a few years ago. Can't make chicken salad out of chicken poop. It will be regrettable if Sanchez turns out to be a doper. I genuinely hope not.
epofuel More than 1 year ago
Mark my words, this Puerto things, by the time it´s done, is going to explode and claim far more big names. I bet it leeches into other sports by the time all is said and done. Is there anyone on here who can honestly draw a distinction between Puerto and Lance? I would love a response, especially from those who often disagree with me!