Cycling: Blood doping trial verdict next week - court

The verdict from the Operation Puerto trial, in which a medical doctor is accused of endangering public health by performing blood transfusions on a number of high-profile cyclists, will be delivered next week, a court spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The verdict will be made public early afternoon on Tuesday April 30," the spokesman from the court in Madrid told AFP.

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was on trial in the case with his sister and fellow doctor Yolanda as well as Manolo Saiz, Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, who all held various positions in the Liberty Seguros and Kelme cycling teams.

Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria retired to consider her verdict on April 1 after hearing evidence for over two months on the way in which Fuentes extracted blood from his clients, stored it and in some cases transfused it back into their systems.

All five face a maximum sentence of two and half years in jail if they are found guilty.

The case was being keenly watched amid claims that the blood doping racket extended beyond cycling to other sports.

None of the defendants was charged with incitement to doping, which was not a crime in Spain at the time of their arrests in 2006.