Operación Grial continues

Jesus Manzano Photo: © Daniel Schamps

Jesus Manzano Photo: © Daniel Schamps

Investigators from Spain's Guardia Civil working on the Operación Grial doping investigation focused on ex-Kelme team doctor Walter Virú are reported to have uncovered files that bring to light new evidence of widespread doping at Kelme between 2001 and 2004.

According to a story in Wednesday's edition of Spanish daily El Público, the Guardia Civil's investigators have discovered half a dozen files containing around 30 documents detailing the names of Kelme riders and listing medicines they had received, the doses supplied, the dates on which they were administered, and the competitions for which they were intended to boost performance.

The documents are reported to have been found during a search of Virú's country home in November last year. They are said to provide a very detailed account of activities within the Kelme team between 2001 and 2004. El Público reported that the riders' identities are not hidden behind code names as they were during the Operación Puerto investigation. It was also reported that some of this evidence has been passed on to
Antonio Serrano, the Madrid judge who headed the Puerto investigation.

Spanish sports daily AS reported at the tail-end on last year that "Virú had held on to documents from the Kelme team" and added that "some of them could refer to riders who are still competing". AS requested a comment from Spain's Commission for Sport (CSD) on the story, but was told that it could not comment during an ongoing investigation.

The Grial investigation has already resulted in one high-profile Spanish athlete being banned from competition. Walker Paquillo Fernández, an Olympic silver medallist and three times a world championship runner-up, has been banned for two years having admitted to the use and possession of EPO. Fernández's home was searched and EPO found after the Guardia Civil had spent time following him and tapping his phone conversations.


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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).