Spain investigates Armstrong doping ring

Associated Press
FILE - In this July 20, 2004 file photo, Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Valreas, southern France, and Villard-de-Lans, French Alps. Armstrong is facing the federal government in a legal fight with tens of millions of dollars at stake, and a loss could bankrupt the cyclist who until last year ranked among the wealthiest and most popular athletes in the world.  (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

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MADRID (AP) — Spanish prosecutors have opened an investigation into individuals involved in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Spain's anti-doping agency said Friday that prosecutors in the eastern province of Alicante are examining the Spanish citizens mentioned in a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency into Armstrong's doping activities.

The USADA report that led to Armstrong's eventual confession that he had doped to win seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 mentions Spanish doctors Luis Garcia del Moral and Pedro Celaya and trainer Pepe Marti. Armstrong has since been stripped of his Tour titles and banned for life by USADA.

Spain's anti-doping agency said the investigation is currently limited to Alicante, although the USADA report indicates Armstrong's ring extended to other parts of Spain.

The move comes just days after a Madrid court found doctor Eufemiano Fuentes guilty of endangering the health of athletes through blood doping.

The court suspended Fuentes' one-year sentence and ordered the destruction of evidence that could implicate more athletes.

The judge's decision to destroy more than 200 blood bags has been heavily criticized by anti-doping organizations.

Armstrong's activities in Spain spanned from the mid-1990s through 2010. Doping was not considered a crime in Spain until 2006, meaning actions before then would have to be charged as endangering public health as in the Operation Puerto case against Fuentes.

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