UCI unhappy with Valverde’s participation
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Friday, September 25, 2009

UCI unhappy with Valverde’s participation

by Conal Andrews at 8:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, World Championships
 

Vuelta a España champion Alejandro Valverde will be one of the main favourites at the start of Sunday’s Elite road race at the world championships. However the newly re-elected UCI President Pat McQuaid continues to have serious doubts about the rider, saying he is convinced that he was involved in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal.

"I've always maintained my belief that blood bag number 18 belongs to Valverde," McQuaid told Het Laaste Nieuws, "but the Spanish federation refuses to prosecute. We therefore feel that Valverde is protected by the Spanish judiciary. How do you otherwise explain that an investigation opened in 2006 can still not be completed, three years later? "

The UCI already tried to block Valverde’s participation in their flagship event. In 2007 it said that the Spaniard could not ride in Stuttgart, but the Caisse d’Epargne rider successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration in Sport.

Valverde now faces two CAS cases. One is an appeal against the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, which banned him for two years earlier this season after it said it had DNA evidence blood bag 18 was his. The second is a move by the UCI and WADA which tries to force the Spanish federation to sanction the rider.

McQuaid insists that they’ve done everything possible. "We have Spanish lawyers and WADA also has lawyers on the case. We have tried to involve the IOC, but we have failed. We can merely await the decision of the International Sports Tribunal TAS.”

The Irishman said that he’d present the jersey to Valverde if he wins on Sunday, but would do so reluctantly. “I will do that because I must keep to the rules, but it is not good for cycling.”.


 

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