In the latest twist in Operacion Puerto, the UCI has decided not to hand over rider blood samples for DNA testing to Spanish authorities in charge of the investigation. In May, the Spanish Guardia Civil seized hundreds of bags of blood in raids on apartments belonging to former cycling doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and the blood transfusion clinic of José Merino Batres. The blood was thought to be intended for reinfusing into athletes as an illegal means of performance enhancement. Although the investigators pieced together codenames to allegedly identify some of Dr Fuentes' cyclist patients, they are seeking firmer evidence in the form of DNA matches to the confiscated blood.
"The blood of the riders in our possession from doping controls is used for research purposes," UCI president Pat McQuaid was quoted by AP as saying. "To give it for DNA comparisons is against our rules."
Top cyclists Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, among others, were implicated in the affair by means of codenames. They were prevented from riding the Tour de France as a result, but have always maintained their innocence, even thought Ullrich was also fired from T-Mobile. Neither have supplied DNA samples to the Spanish.
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