Police investigating doping ring in Spain

Moises Dueñas Nevado (now ex-Barloworld)

Moises Dueñas Nevado (now ex-Barloworld) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The immediate aftermath of Operacion Puerto saw new laws criminalising doping but, if the Spanish magazine Interviu is correct in claims made this week, that hasn’t deterred the Valladolid doctor Jesus Losa from running another doping network and helping riders gain an illicit advantage.

Losa 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. While a subsequent investigation was shelved due to lack of evidence, several big names have been revealed to have been in contact with him.

According to Interviu, Moreno was injected with EPO in Barajas airport prior to flying to Beijing. Then, after a surprise control resulted in her positive test, Spanish Secretary of State for Sport Jaime Lissavetzky asked her to name the supplier who gave her the doping product. She didn’t answer and fled China, claiming an anxiety attack.

Dueñas and Moreno were later visited by police, who would uncover more details about what went on from the former Barloworld rider. Moreno continued to deny he was her doctor.

The police were investigating Losa, who works in the Regional Medical Center of Sports Medicine in Castilla y León. In 2004 he had been previously named by David Millar as someone who had supplied him with EPO, and was subsequently fired from his post within the Euskaltel-Euskadi team.

Losa realised he was being tracked and limited evidence was available to the police. They tapped phones and intercepted SMS messages between the doctor and several professional cyclists but, due to scarcity of other evidence, the judge looking into the case temporarily shelved the indictment last May.

Duenas co-operated with investigators and received a reduced one year suspension as a result of his assistance. He said that in 2008 he paid Losa a fee of €6,000 plus bonuses for targets, and received injections of an unknown substance in his clinic. The doctor also gave him a bottle of the testosterone precursor DHEA to use during the Tour, telling him that he would never test positive if he followed his instructions.

The case will raise further concerns about doping in Spain. The country has previously been criticised by the UCI following a lack of progress in the Operacion Puerto investigations. One of its top riders, Alejandro Valverde, is currently awaiting a CAS hearing following a joint UCI/WADA bid to have him suspended due to Puerto links.

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