Puerto 7 to stand trial in Spain

MADRID -- Seven people linked to cycling's Operation Puerto doping scandal will stand trial in Spain, facing up to two years in prison.

Madrid's Superior Court said in a statement on Wednesday that sports doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, former Liberty Seguros team boss Manolo Saiz and five others arrested in 2006 on suspicion of providing doping services to cyclists will be tried.

Puerto implicated more than 50 cyclists -- including three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde -- in the use of performance-enhancing substances or practices. Spanish sports bodies could not use evidence to ban athletes because of Spanish law, which has since changed.

The accused, who also stand to lose their professional licenses, are charged with endangering athletes' health in their handling of blood samples because they cannot be retroactively charged for a doping crime.

Cycling's biggest doping scandal has impacted Spain's reputation against doping because a Madrid judge twice shelved the case.

Spanish authorities found bags of blood, blood transfusion equipment and anabolic steroids from raids in Zaragoza and Madrid in May 2006.

Valverde is the only Spanish rider who has been punished using Puerto evidence, which drove German cyclist Ullrich into retirement and led to a two-year ban for Italian cyclist Basso.

The other five to stand trial include Jose Luis Merino Batres, Jose Ignacio Labarta Barrera, Vicente Belda Vicedo, Alfredo Cordova Martinez and Fuentes' sister Yolanda.