ONE of world sport’s biggest doping cases could be scuppered if over 200 crucial blood samples are destroyed, Spanish authorities have warned.

Enrique Gomez Bastida, director of the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEPSAD), said it would be a ‘hard blow’ if an appeal court ordered samples from the Operation Puerto case should be destroyed.

FUENTES: Shamed doctor was banned for a year
FUENTES: Shamed doctor was banned for a year

Bastida said: “It would be a hard blow because it’s important to send a clear message in the anti-doping struggle.

“It’s important that those implicated recognise the facts.”

In 2006, police seized over 200 bags of blood, marked with coded names, from doctor Eufemiano Fuentes’s – known as Dr Blood – Madrid office.

Fuentes was found to be doping some of cycling’s biggest names, including Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.

Fuentes was banned for a year, but despite Fuentes claiming he also worked with stars from tennis, football, boxing and athletics, in 2013 a Spanish judge ordered the blood samples to be destroyed rather than handed to anti-doping authorities.

Madrid’s Provincial Court is due to deliver its verdict on appeal against Judge Julia Patricia Santamari’s 2013 ruling.