Charges upheld against doctors in cycling doping case

Updated: July 20, 2006, 7:04 PM ET
Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- A Spanish judge upheld charges Thursday against two doctors at the center of a major doping investigation in cycling.

The two doctors, Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Merino Batres, reiterated their innocence while the court upheld the charges of crimes against public health.

It is up to the provincial court to decide whether to order the doctors to stand trial or to drop the case.

Five people -- including Fuentes and Merino Batres -- were arrested and charged in May when police seized drugs and frozen blood at a Madrid clinic. The samples were thought to have been prepared for performance-enhancing transfusions.

A Civil Guard police report on the investigation names more than 50 cyclists. Top contenders Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo were forced to withdraw from this year's Tour de France.

Athletes allegedly went to the clinic to have blood extracted for doping or to collect performance-enhancing drugs. Nearly 100 bags of frozen blood and equipment for treating blood were found in the clinic, along with documents on doping procedures performed on cyclists.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press