Following reports this week that Spanish police have been investigating a possible doping ring in Spain centred around Doctor Jesus Losa, the UCI have indicated that they are studying the situation and will take action if and when they have sufficient proof.
“Our position would be that we will wait and see what information we can get on it,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said to Cyclingnews on Friday. “Before we can do anything, we have to know more. We will get that information from the Spanish federation.”
Over three years ago a major doping network run by Eufemiano Fuentes was uncovered, leading to the Operación Puerto affair. That still drags on to this day, with a stop-go court case frustrating most efforts to impose athletic sanctions.
There are two differences with the alleged case involving Doctor Losa, who lost his job with the Euskaltel Euskadi team in 2004 when David Millar said that the Spaniard had supplied him with EPO.
Firstly, Spanish law changed in 2005 and doping athletes is now a criminal offence. Secondly, McQuaid said that the Spanish federation is much more proactive than before.
“They have moved on,” he stated. “There is a new management committee and a different president than before, and they have a different approach.” The UCI will rely on that greater co-operation if sanctions are to be imposed in this latest case.
The news of the investigation into the activities of Losa broke when the Spanish magazine Interviu said that he had been running a doping network. He is suspected as being the supplier of Moises Dueñas and Maribel Moreno, who were positive for EPO in last year’s Tour de France and the Olympics, respectively. Dueñas has allegedly confirmed that he was given doping products by Losa.
Interviu said that Losa was tipped off and disposed of some evidence, but that SMS messages and phone taps had linked several other professional riders to the investigation.