Armstrong links football clubs to cover-up

The disgraced former Tour de France winner believes unnamed teams have exerted influence over the fall-out of the Eufemiano Fuentes scandal
Lance Armstrong has accused "great football clubs" of influencing a Spanish court's decision to destroy evidence gathered as part of the infamous Operacion Puerto case.

The investigation by Spanish police into doping in cycling resulted in approximately 200 blood bags being seized from the residence of sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who subsequently revealed that he had also been working with athletes from other sports, including football.

However, during the subsequent trial into alleged doping, the presiding judge, Julia Patricia Santamaria, told Fuentes that he was under obligation to disclose the identity of those not already implicated in the case and also ordered that the blood bags be destroyed.

"I'm sure some great football clubs have had an influence on this decision," Armstrong, who was last year banned from cycling for life as part of a separate enquiry into doping, stated in an interview with Le Monde.

"In any case, it is still cycling, which was held solely responsible."

Fuentes, who claimed to have also worked with athletes in tennis, football, athletics and boxing, was given a one-year suspended jail sentence in April for endangering public health.

But Eduardo Esteban, the Madrid province’s chief prosecutor, subsequently revealed that he not only intends to appeal the verdict, but also the decision to destroy the blood bags.