Cycling: Seven face trial in Spanish doping scandal

Madrid: Spanish medical doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and six others will go on trial for suspected involvement in a doping network in cycling, said a judge`s ruling released on Wednesday.

The seven suspects will be tried for a crime "against public health" over the allegations, which surfaced in 2006 after Spanish police mounted "Operation Puerto" against the suspected blood doping ring, said the ruling by Judge Antonio Serrano.

A date must now be fixed for the trial. Prosecutors are seeking two years` jail and professional bans for the same period against the accused, saying they engaged in acts "to artificially enhance the performance of cyclists".

Oral proceedings were formally opened against Fuentes, his sister Yolanda, doctors Jose Luis Merino and Alfredo Cordova and former cycling team sports officials Manolo Saiz, Jose Ignacio Labarta and Vicente Belda.

The scandal led to the expulsion of several favourites on the eve of the 2006 Tour de France including Italian Ivan Basso, German Jan Ullrich and Spaniard Francisco Mancebo. Ullrich announced his retirement and Basso was suspended for two years by the Italian Cycling Federation as a result.

Bureau Report

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