Valverde will look to CAS for Tour start
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Valverde will look to CAS for Tour start

by VeloNation Press at 7:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
The Italian National Olympic Committee's (CONI) decision to ban Spaniard Alejandro Valverde for two years will effectively keep the overall contender out of the Tour de France since one of the stages travels through Italy.

The head of the Italian anti-doping commission, Ettore Torri, is acting on a DNA test done on a blood sample taken during last year's Tour de France in Prato Nevoso, Italy. The Italians proactively took the sample from the Tour stage and compared it to one of the blood bags that was seized in the Operation Puerto raids on doctor Eufemiano Fuentes' offices. The bag in question was labeled "Valve PITIE", and was thought to contain the blood of Valverde.

The tests matched Valverde's DNA to the blood taken from Fuentes. When the public prosecutor in Rome shared their evidence with the courts in Madrid it fell on deaf ears.

CONI refused to abide by the Spanish court ruling that Italian authorities did not have the jurisdiction to sanction a Spanish athlete and have suspended Valverde for two years.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme told tuttobiciweb.it, "If Valverde is banned in Italy, he can not participate in the tour because since there are 120 kilometers that pass through Italy."

Valverde said he will be taking his case to the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland and that he is "outraged by the unjust sanctions."


The president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), Alejandro Blanco, is standing by Valverde and said at a press conference,"Until proven otherwise you must defend the athletes. I am a very hard on the issue of doping, but must be where it is proven that the athlete has doped, and Alejandro was not involved in
'Operation Puerto'. To me, Valverde is clean and is an athlete like any other, I admire them for their achievements. He (Ettore Torri) is doing great damage."
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