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Court denied access to evidence from Puerto trial, UCI to appeal
The UCI has announced that it will appeal against the decision taken by a Madrid court judge not to allow the evidence from the Operacion Puerto trial to be released for analysis, which could lead to the possible identification of the riders and other athletes allegedly involved.
In a brief statement released Friday, the UCI states it will appeal “the decision not to release to the UCI and other anti-doping organisation, the more than 200 bags of blood and other evidence gathered in police raids in 2006, which were presented in the trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes."
The decision by the judge, Julia Santamaria, who oversaw the case, that the bags could not be analysed because of Spain’s privacy laws when she issued her verdict on the Puerto case was greeted with widespread dismay by anti-doping organisations world-wide.
WADA, the UCI, the Spanish Cycling Federation and Spain’s anti-doping organisation, the AEA, had all said they wanted to have access to the bags, with WADA director David Howman saying in a statement "The decision to order the destruction of the blood bags is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory for ... the whole anti-doping community.” It is not yet known whether WADA and the Spanish organizations will present a separate appeal.
Although around 50 cyclists were originally implicated in the case, only a handful were actually punished for their involvement in Puerto. There is no indication yet of how long the appeal would take to go through the Spanish courts, with Puerto taking seven years before a verdict was reached.