Operation Puerto: Judge orders blood bags to be handed to authorities


A Spanish court has ruled that around 200 blood bags representing key evidence in a major doping scandal must be handed over to authorities for investigation.

Tuesday's announcement marks a historic moment in Operation Puerto,10 years on from the probe revealing a doping network involving several leading cyclists.

Blood bags seized from the offices of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes were ordered to be destroyed in 2013 by Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria - prompting appeals from numerous parties.

However, the Provincial Court of Madrid has now ruled the bags "must be delivered to the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation, World Anti-Doping Association, International Cycling Union and Italian National Olympic Committee".

Both Fuentes - who says he also worked with athletes from sports other than cycling - and Jose Ignacio Labarta, a former cycling team official, have been acquitted of crimes against public health, for which they previously received suspended sentences.

"The conduct of Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Ignacio Labarta Barrera does not fit the crime for which they were charged and convicted in the first instance," the court said.

No names have yet been released of any athletes who may be implicated in the scandal as a result of Tuesday's ruling.