Cycling Body Appeals Spanish Court Ruling to Destroy Blood Bags

Cycling’s governing body will appeal the decision by a Spanish judge to destroy 200 blood bags belonging to cyclists and other athletes after an anti-doping trial.

The ruling by Judge Patricia Santamaria came after a trial of Eufemiano Fuentes, a sports doctor who gave transfusions to Tour de France riders to boost their performance. The bags were found in his possession, and the World Anti-Doping Agency was among groups looking to identify the athletes involved in so-called blood-doping, which is banned in sports. The Union Cycliste Internationale, known as UCI, said it will appeal.

“The UCI can confirm that it will appeal the decision of the Madrid court of April 29 not to release to the UCI and other anti-doping organizations the more than 200 bags of blood and other evidence gathered in police raids in 2006, which were presented in the trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes,” the governing body said today in an e-mail.

The UCI and WADA wanted to take disciplinary proceedings against athletes who haven’t faced sanctions as a result of a 2006 investigation in Madrid called “Operacion Puerto,” or Operation Mountain Pass. As few as a dozen of the 58 cyclists that police linked to the doping ring, and no one from other sports, have received bans.

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