Arrests made in anti-doping raids linked to Beijing

Anti-doping operation


Operation Skype, a joint operation between the Catalan regional police, Mossos d’Esquadra, and the national force led to several arrests including that of alleged ringleader, former Liberty Seguros team doctor Dr Alberto Beltran Nino.

Beltran has been in detention since early March, but the news has only been revealed more than two months later after a gag order was lifted.

The network is believed to be involved in positive tests at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, the 2009 Volta a Portugal and the 2010 Spanish athletics championships.

The proximity of the London Olympic Games was cited as a reason for officers to make the move on Beltran when he arrived at Madrid's Barajas Airport.

Although a spokesman for Mossos d’Esquadra believes that the police has “dismantled a criminal network”, a second set of raids and arrests was not ruled out.

"The established infrastructure in Spain is characterized by an organization that had many contacts in the world of elite sport," a statement reads. "Given the proximity of the 2012 London Olympics, the group resolved to disband when the ringleader was in Spain."

The operation employed the consultation of former cyclist David Garcia and athlete Jose Luis Blanco, both of whom are themselves currently suspended for doping offences.

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