Lifestyle & Belief

Eufemiano Fuentes, Spanish doctor, convicted for running major cyclist doping ring


Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes (L) arrives at a court house in Madrid on January 28, 2013. Fuentes has been convicted of masterminding a vast doping network that rocked the sporting world and snared top cyclists. The case centered on a sophisticated network which was blown wide open on May 23, 2006 when Spanish police seized around 200 bags of blood in an investigation dubbed 'Operation Puerto'.


Dani Pozo

Eufemiano Fuentes, a Spanish doctor accused of running one of the largest sports' doping rings in the world, was sentenced to a year in prison for endangering public health on Tuesday.

Fuentes, 57, was given a one-year suspended sentence, stripped of his medical license for four years, and fined $6,000.  

"The extractions and transfusions were not practiced in accordance with the sanitary norms but in a clandestine manner," said Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria, in the long-awaited ruling after the 10-week trial in Madrid.

Fuentes, who was responsible for supplying professional cyclists with blood transfusions, was tried under public health laws because doping was not illegal in Spain at the time his "Operation Puerto" was discovered. 

He also admitted to helping tennis, soccer, boxing and track and field athletes dope.

Officials raided Fuentes' offices in 2006, where they found 200 bags of frozen blood that have been ordered to be destroyed following his conviction.

Antidoping agencies and sports federations like World Anti-Doping Agency and Spain’s new antidoping agency requested the blood bags in order to identify the athletes served by Fuentes so they could be prosecuted, but Spain declined to release them, citing privacy laws

However,  Six of the 58 people said to have been clients of Fuentes — including German rider Jan Ullrich — have subsequently been sanctioned.

A former cycling official, Ignacio Labarta, also received four months in prison for his role in the doping ring; two other officials, Manolo Saiz and Vicente Belda, were cleared.

Fuentes' sister and fellow doctor Yolanda was also cleared of charges against her.