The VeloNews reports this morning that a hearing in Spain today will determine whether the Operation Puerto investigation will be reopened, or closed for good. If reopened the case would still not fall under the newer Spanish anti-doping statutes which are far more stringent than the old laws which prevented OP from having more "teeth" at the time it was initiated:
The Puerto case has remained in limbo since March (2007) when Spanish judge Antonio Serrano ordered the investigation closed. The UCI, the Spanish cycling federation and the Spanish prosecutors office appealed that decision.
If the appeals court decides to reopen the case, Serrano will be required to reactivate the investigation but without the power to retroactively apply Spain’s new tough anti-doping law that was introduced six months after the original Puerto raids in May 2006.
Even if the case is reopened, it’s unlikely that Serrano will be able to force DNA testing on some 200 bags of blood and plasma found in police raids.
The impact of reigniting OP still remains unclear, unless some provision is made to give the case more of the power it needs to successfully pursue those alleged to have doped.
The CyclingNews regular Friday Letters column provides a review of the past week in cycling which includes notes about the Lampre late night doping control scandal, the continuing war between the GT "owners" and the UCI, and the ever popular Dick Pound and his possible ascension to head honcho of the CAS.
The NY Times reveals where Brian MacNamee "stored" the evidence he has to support his claims that he injected Roger Clemens with HGH and steroids: old beer cans. You can't make this stuff up. Talk about a clear chain of custody and protection from contamination.
Reuters/Guardian says the UCI is asking the Monaco Cycling Federation to start a case against Rasmussen over whereabouts reporting, with a two year ban on the table.
AFP reports that the ASO may be negotiating to take the Vuelta over from Unipublic. This probably won't make Landis happy, as the Vuelta is a race he might have been targeting in a return to the road.
L'Equipe reports a veiled threat of a Giro boycott by ProTour teams, translation by ZENmud:
Nine teams (Quick Step, Lampre, Duval Salt maker, Liquigas, Milram, Rabobank, High Road, Astana and CSC) demanded on Thursday for an immediate meeting with the organizers of the three large turns cyclists (Italy, France, Spain) following the not-selection of several of them for Giro.
This request is shaded with threats of boycott, which come implicitly from a common official statement:
"We understand obviously the will of the organizers to avoid the presence of teams which could harm the image of the sport, but we do not want to lead to a situation where we would be obliged to pressure [them] by asking [that] all [teams] be invited in block, or if not no team would take part".(With AFP)
Patrice Leclerc: enjoy the bed you made, mon pauvre... you're next!
Bill McGann, author of "The Story of the Tour de France" opines that Landis is likely to lose, again:
Before finishing Volume 2 I had to wait until the arbitration panel had ruled on Floyd Landis' appeal. While Landis is going to the Court for Arbitration of Sport for a final appeal, I think it unlikely that Landis' positive for exegenous testosterone will be overturned.
Louis Bednar had a Floyd sighting. Landis must be doing some training.
In a comment below, tlq passes on this heartwarming story:
It is about the 2007 winner of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition whose winning ewe tested positive for ractopamine, a supplement used in pig feed but not sheep feed. She was stripped of her title and banned from competition for four years and is now suing.
The pigs and sheep were housed together and the young lady was unable to muzzle her animal due to the ewe's size so one could imagine the possibility of contamination of the ewe's food source. But strict liability trumps all. Possible failure on the part of the show to protect the animals is irrelevant. This would be like testing athlete's samples in a lab known for contaminating samples. Oh wait a sec....
And so it goes.