The investigation that shook cycling ended without indictments Monday when the judge said he could not charge anyone because Spain’s new doping law was not in place when the case broke last May.
The ruling by Antonio Serrano was released Monday and dated March 8. The decision can be appealed by Spanish authorities.
The Spanish cycling federation must also still decide whether to discipline dozens of riders implicated in the case known as Operation Puerto.
In his 21-page ruling, the judge said doping allegations against sports physician Eufemiano Fuentes, coach Manolo Saiz and six other suspects “do not constitute a criminal infraction.”
Serrano said that although the practice of blood doping did took place in this case, there was no evidence it harmed riders’ health. That is the requirement under previous Spanish legislation for charges to be filed against someone who administers doping substances to an athlete.
He did criticize those implicated in the case, however, saying there had a been at the very least a lack of “fair play.” He said the affair shows that sports these days are more about profit than athletic competition.
Serrano said “these proceedings have taken place because of the lack of clean play, at the least.”
I’d like to think Gary Matthews Jr. would’ve applauded Serrano’s verdict.