Sports Extra


Operation Puerto trial opens with 35 witnesses expected

MADRID – Spain’s Operation Puerto finally went to trial Monday after a delay of seven years, raising the prospect over the coming weeks of new revelations about doping in cycling following the confession of Lance Armstrong.

Cyclists themselves will not be on trial because of the legal limitations of the case. But there is great interest in the event because other sports – particularly soccer and tennis – are mentioned in the evidence.

Thirty-five witnesses are expected to testify in a trial due to last until March 22.

Although no riders will sit as accused, many will be called to testify as witnesses, including two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador. He was stripped of a third Tour title after testing positive for clenbuterol.

The trial is limited to doping in cycling, even though athletes in other sports were also reportedly implicated in the discovery of blood bags and other doping equipment in 2006.

The World Anti-Doping Agency wants all evidence to be released.

Several hundred blood and plasma bags were seized by police, but the Puerto case has implicated only 50 cyclists, including Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde.

Bruyneel to miss hearing on doping scandal

BRUSSELS – Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong’s former team leader, will not appear at a hearing Tuesday to discuss his role in the doping scandal.

Belgian cycling federation prosecutor Jaak Fransen said Monday he will consider pursuing the case without Bruyneel.

“Whether this is a delay tactic or not, that I cannot say,” Fransen said by phone to The Associated Press.

During a 2010 hearing, Bruyneel denied all doping allegations made by disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis against Armstrong. No disciplinary action was taken.

Fransen previously invited Bruyneel to explain himself after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charged in October that the Belgian was a central figure in Armstrong’s doping programs. He was called again to appear after Armstrong acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had doped.

On both occasions, no meeting took place.

college basketball

Michigan returns to Fab Five days with No. 1 AP ranking

Michigan is No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll for the first time since its Fab Five days 20 years ago.

For the second consecutive week the No. 1 team lost. This time it was Duke, which was routed 90-63 by Miami in the third-worst defeat by a top-ranked team.

Michigan received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday. Kansas moved up one spot to No. 2 and had 13 first-place votes. They are the only one-loss teams in the poll. Indiana, Florida, which drew the other first-place vote, and Duke complete the top five.

The Wolverines advanced from No. 2 to become No. 1 for the fourth time. They were at the top for 10 weeks in 1964-65, eight weeks in 1976-77 and three weeks at the start of 1992-93, the Fab Five’s second season together.

That season, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson made it to the national championship game for the second consecutive year.

women’s basketball

Baylor still No. 1 with 30 consecutive league wins

Baylor remains No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll for a fourth consecutive week after two more Big 12 wins.

The Lady Bears cruised to victories over Iowa State and Oklahoma and have 30 consecutive Big 12 regular-season victories.

Baylor had 37 first-place ballots Monday and will visit Texas Tech and No. 19 Oklahoma State this week. The Cowgirls had the biggest drop, falling seven spots after losing to Kansas State.

Associated Press