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Operación Grial: 12th person questioned

Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009

Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009 (Image credit: AFP)

Raúl Castaño, an amateur cyclist racing for Valencia Terra i Mar, has been reported by Spanish media to be the 12th person arrested and questioned by police in doping investigation Operación Grial.

Castaño, winner of the Vuelta a Zamora, was at home yesterday when police officers of the Guardia Civil came to search for - and found - doping substances. Although it was reported that the Spaniard was taken into custody, Castaño himself denied this on Biciciclismo.

"That is a lie," he told the website. "They did not find anything but recovery products, and I was not detained."

Castaño is the fifth cyclist involved in the case, together with Pedro Vera, a professional rider with Contentpolis, José Ortega from Club Pub Tribus and female bike rider Cristina Navarro. Paracyclist Javier Ochoa was also questioned by police.

Although Castaño confirmed a friendly relationship with trainer Vicente Natividad, one of the other persons detained in Valencia, as well as being acquainted with Ochoa, with whom he trains, he maintained he had "nothing to do with this. Logically, I had phone calls with [Natividad and Ochoa], and this was the reason members of the UCO [Central Operating Unit] taped my parents' home for six hours. But they did not arrest me; they only asked where I had bought certain products."

The doping network dicovered by Spanish police worked around Peruvian physician and former Kelme team doctor Walter Viru, who is thought to have used bike riders as distributors for doping products in various cycling categories.

The Spanish cycling federation RFEC will take two actions on Friday: Firstly, it is going to register as private prosecution in the case. Secondly, its Competition Committee will release preventive measures against all those invloved in the case that have a licence to race.

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