By Shane Stokes
UCI President Pat McQuaid has expressed his frustration with the current situation vis-à-vis the Operación Puerto investigation, sending a strongly worded letter to Spanish minister of sport, Jaime Lissavetzky. The story was earlier reported here but Cyclingnews has since obtained a copy of the communication which provides a clearer picture of the reasons for the UCI's discontent.
In the letter, McQuaid commences by passing on his condolences to all affected by the tragic death of Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider and current world Madison champion Isaac Gálvez in Gent last weekend. He then moves on to the Operación Puerto situation, voicing his concern that despite the ongoing leak of information into the public domain, the UCI still, effectively, has its hands tied and cannot act.
"You understand, as we have discussed previously, this affair is doing enormous damage to the credibility of our sport," writes McQuaid. "This began with the continuous leaks to the media of material related to the investigation all through 2006. Then the judge, having provided us with relevant material for use in a sports disciplinary process and the UCI having spent an enormous amount of time, effort and money on preparing the dossiers of each case, in October announced that we cannot now use any of the information to process and possibly eventually sanction riders.
"Now this past weekend we are once again faced with leaks of information to the Spanish media of important, confidential information from the investigation, the substance and presentation of which is damning of certain cyclists referred to. And the UCI can do absolutely nothing about this. We cannot, as we would dearly like to do, use the information to discipline and sanction riders involved. Indeed we must legally allow these riders to continue to race throughout 2007 until this investigation concludes at which time we might, and I say might, be supplied with enough evidence to go after those riders allegedly involved."
Read the full Cyclingnews news feature.
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
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