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Operación Puerto blood bags could finally be released

Spanish court authorizes release that could identify Dr. Fuentes client list

Spanish Criminal Court 21 issued an order this week to finally release the blood bags from Operación Puerto to a the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), according to the Spanish newspaper As.

Allowing the release of seized blood bags to CONI opens the possibility of identifying the full client list of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. CONI has been engaged in a years long legal battle to obtain the blood bags. Fuentes has reportedly filed an appeal, again trying to prevent the release.

Operación Puerto Fuentes Alejandro Valverde
Alejandro Valverde was been linked to the Operación Puerto scandal by CONI

The timing of the courts decision will likely make it more difficult for newly crowned world champion Alejandro Valverde to try put his involvement with Operación Puerto behind him. The Spanish rider served a two-year ban from cycling between 2010 and 2012. CONI is the body that successfully tied Valverde to Operación Puerto after matching his DNA, obtained when the 2008 Tour de France stopped for a rest day in Italy, to one of the seized blood bags. After serving his two year ban, Valverde was immediately signed he current Movistar team.

Since winning the world championships, Valverde has has become increasingly annoyed when faced with questions about his past involvement with Operación Puerto.

Operación Puerto crashed into the pro peloton in May 2006 when a police investigation led to the arrest of the now-disgraced Dr. Fuentes. Police seized 211 blood bags from Fuentes’ property, but the identity of the Dr.’s clients tied to those blood bags has long been shrouded mystery. The blood bags were initially ordered to be destroyed, were eventually released to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2016.