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Sports

Spanish court rules Operation Puerto blood bags to be handed over

A Spanish court has ordered blood bags in the Operation Puerto case to be handed over to sporting authorities for investigation. The bags are key evidence from a case surrounding one of Spain's worst doping scandals.

Madrid-based judge Alejandro Mario Benito ruled Tuesday the bags should be passed to the Spanish Cycling Union, the global cycling body UCI, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Italian Olympic Committee.

The investigation, conducted in 2006, revealed a doping network consisting of a number of top athletes when coded blood bags and samples were seized from the Madrid clinic of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes (pictured top).

During the trial in 2013, Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria ordered the destruction of the blood bags and other evidence, citing privacy laws. That decision was appealed by the prosecution.

Santamaria's decision sparked outrage at the time among a number of famous sports figures, including former tennis Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.

More than 50 cyclists were originally linked to the case. Fuentes said during the trial that he had also worked with athletes from other sports, but Santamaria said he did not have to mention anyone not implicated in the cycling case.

rd/dr (AFP, AP)