The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today confirmed it and the UCI have taken possession of blood and plasma evidence collected a decade ago in the Spanish investigation into Dr Eufemiano Fuentes' doping ring, dubbed 'Operacion Puerto'.
The announcement comes weeks after the Madrid Court of Appeals allowed the distribution of the evidence from the case that was closed with Fuentes getting a one-year suspended sentence.
"Following the recent decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal to provide access to the stored Operation Puerto blood and plasma bags of athletes from cycling and other sports, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can confirm that, alongside the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), it is now in possession of samples of the blood and plasma bags; and that, the samples are stored in a WADA-accredited laboratory outside of Spain," the WADA announcement read.
"WADA and the UCI will continue their joint investigation into Operation Puerto, and will consider all possible legal options."
The Spanish police collected some 211 blood and plasma bags from freezers in the clinic operated by Fuentes. Five cyclists have already served suspensions after either admitting to wrongdoing or being linked to blood bags by DNA evidence: Ivan Basso, Jorg Jaschke, Michele Scarponi, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde.
The Madrid courts ordered the remaining evidence to be destroyed in 2013, but WADA appealed the decision and won.
Spanish media reported that each of the 211 items was split into four samples each and distributed to the anti-doping authorities.
Spain's Anti-Doping agency Enrique Gómez Bastida, one of the original investigators into Fuentes, explained to Cyclingnews that the statute of limitations on sporting infractions ran out in 2014, so it is unlikely that any current riders will be suspended over the affair.
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