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Key doping trial ruling delayed

Anti-doping officials will have to wait until next month to discover whether they will be given access to the 200 blood bags confiscated from the premises of doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes after the judge in his trial for endangering public health retired to considered her verdict yesterday.

A court official in Madrid said Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria would publish her verdict in around six weeks' time, when she would also rule on whether the World Anti-Doping Agency will be granted access to the bags of red blood cells and plasma that have remained in refrigerated storage for seven years.

Analysis of the bags could reveal the identity of dope cheats in a number of sports beyond the 50-plus cyclists who have already been implicated in the scandal after police raided Fuentes' property in 2006 as part of their investigation.

During his opening testimony in the trial, Fuentes said that as well as cyclists, he had worked with clients in football, tennis, athletics and boxing.

Fuentes told the court that he had not harmed any of his sporting clients. As doping was not illegal in Spain at the time of the 2006 raid, Fuentes could only be charged with endangering public health.

He has not disputed that he provided cyclists with transfusions and performance-enhancing drugs.

SOCCER

WEST BROM are eyeing up a summer move for Ireland and Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.

Baggies assistant boss Keith Downing was at St Andrews on Easter Monday to watch Doyle skipper Wolves to victory over Birmingham City.

After a difficult season, the Wexford man has bounced back to form at club level despite the disappointment of being left out of Giovanni Trapattoni's initial squad for the World Cup double-header with Sweden and Austria.

Doyle was a target for Celtic in the January transfer window and Hoops manager Neil Lennon remains a big fan of the former Reading and Cork City star.

Everton have also made two approaches for the 29-year-old in the past 18 months, and Wolves are expecting interest in him this summer.

racing

Pineau De Re lines up for the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick today following his narrow second in a valuable race at Leopardstown last time.

He looks an obvious player again, but a competitive line-up has been assembled with recent Down Royal winner Seriatim and the lightly-raced Carrigeen Lechuga both making appeal, along with Mister Philson, a promising second on his return to Rules at Carlisle last month.

Irish Independent