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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Official quits over drugs inquiry
A leading official of the Comunidad Valenciana cycling team has quit after being questioned by police as part of Spain's largest doping investigation.

Jose Ignacio Labarta said he was innocent and was acting to avoid damaging the image of the team.

"I want to separate myself from the team so that the shadow of suspicion does not fall on them," said Labarta.

Liberty Seguros team boss Manolo Saiz, two doctors and a mountain biker were also questioned and released by police.

The five were arrested last week in a major operation directed against doping in cycling.

Large quantities of anabolic steroids, laboratory equipment used for blood transfusions and more than 100 bags of frozen blood were found in raids on addresses in Madrid and Zaragoza.

Labarta, Comunidad Valenciana's assistant sporting director, Saiz and mountain bike professional Alberto Leon have to report to court every two weeks and are prohibited from leaving the country.

Doctors Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Luis Merino were released on bail after being accused of offences against public health.

Doping is not a criminal offence in Spain, so the investigation centres on public health issues.



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