By James Crook at the Park Inn Radisson Hotel in St Petersburg

Alejandro-BlancoMay 28 - Madrid 2020 bid President Alejandro Blanco delivered a defiant message here today ahead of the Spanish capital's Games bid presentations this week, claiming that those involved in the Operation Puerto doping scandal "will pay for their actions".

The doping scandal in Spain saw the decision to order the destruction hundreds of bags of blood used by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes due to Spanish privacy laws, although several bodies, including the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have appealed.

Blanco hopes that, with a new law being pushed through Spanish Parliament, the potential damage the scandal has had on Madrid's third consecutive bid to host the Games will be limited.

Doping is currently not illegal in Spain, therefore Fuentes escaped with a one year suspended sentence, along with a four-year ban from practicing medicine and a fine of $6,000 (£4,000/€4650).

Only a number of cyclists that were involved have been outed, with top players from tennis, football and other high profile sports also alleged to have been a part of the doping ring.

"It is a long process, and can take five or six years, but we know that everyone will pay for their doping," said Blanco.

"Operation Puerto is one of the most important in our times and we know that they [those involved in doping] will pay"

167832093Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes was given a one-year suspended sentence, along with a four-year ban on practicing medicine and a fine for the doping ring he was responsible for

"We hope that the process will end and everybody in this process will pay, including [the punishment of] prison [sentences]"

Leader of the opposition in the Madrid City Council Jaime Lissavetzky echoed these sentiments, stating that the new anti-doping law would come into effect from next month should it pass through Parliament.

"We never tried to hide this," he said.

"We have pushed for this type of operation that will be approved with the new law, which will hopefully be approved on June 15."

Also appearing alongside Blanco and Lissavetzky was Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella, who assured that Madrid would be prepared to host the Games in 2020 should it win the bid race.

"We have the support of the national, regional and of course the City government," said Botella.

"We have invested wisely in the last 15 years; we have invested $19 billion (£12 billion/€14 billion) in the transport system, and we are a safe choice for the Olympic Movement."

159064495Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella spoke alongside Blanco, and reiterated that the Spanish capital is a "safe pair of hands" for the 2020 Games

With their vital bid city presentation coming up this week, Blanco claimed that the main message that he and the Madrid 2020 bid team wanted to convey to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is that Spain is already prepared to host the Games in 2020.

"The special message we have bought with us [to St Petersburg] is that the country is prepared to welcome the Games," he said. 

Botella added: "There is sometimes difficult news about Spain, but we are improving, and the money we must invest in the bid in the next seven years is completely afforded by the three levels of administration, all of us have signed guarantees and we are improving in the big numbers, so I am sure it is completely possible, and I'm completely sure that in the next seven years, we will keep growing.

"We are very safe for the Olympic Movement.

"We have 80 per cent of the venues done

"We are ready not only for 2020, we are ready in 2013."

Madrid is currently viewed as the outsider in the race to host the 2020 Games, behind rivals Istanbul and Tokyo, but the Madrid bid team claimed that they are not feeling a negative impact from their status as underdogs.

"We think we are the safe choice for the Movement," said Botella.

"We have support from almost 85 per cent of the city, and it's very important for us."

Madrid are currently ranked as outsiders in the bid race with odds of up to 11/1 offered by bookmakers on the Spanish capital to host the 2020 Games.

Tokyo have emerged as odds-on favourites to win the rights to host in 2020, whilst Istanbul remain closely behind.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories: 
May 2013: 
UCI appeals against decision to destroy evidence in Operation Puerto case
May 2013: Olympic gold medallist wants British IOC members to vote against Madrid 2020 in protest at Spanish doping scandal
May 2013: Jaimie Fuller: Is Spain truly corrupt? We can't be blamed for thinking so