Valverde looks back on 2009, discusses 2010
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Valverde looks back on 2009, discusses 2010

by Steve Jones at 11:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde was online with Spanish newspaper El Mundo this morning to talk about his upcoming 2010 campaign. The Spaniard confirmed that after taking part in the Santos Tour Down Under for the first time, he will compete in the Tour of the Mediterranean, Haut Var, Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco.

Valverde also said he wants to shine in the Spring Classics again. “I will start very strong because I hope to be in great condition for the classics and be able to win in them again,” he explained. In 2009 he won La Flèche Wallonne and the previous year he took home the oldest of cycling's monuments Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

When asked about winning the Tour de France, he acknowledged that this year's winner Alberto Contador (Astana) will be very difficult to defeat. “One must be realistic," he said, "and to defeat Alberto Contador will not be easy. Nevertheless, the Tour is a three week long race and nothing is impossible.”

In the year that saw Valverde finally win his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, he said that his most important single moment of the season took place in France at the Dauphiné Libéré. "Both victories are very different," he said. “Euphoria was bigger on the Mont Ventoux because this was really the perfect stage which also allowed me to win the final classification of the Dauphiné for the second time on a row."

The two wins were different for the Spaniard, but both left him with a big impression. "In the Vuelta happiness came progressively until the big joy that was represented on the final day. But if we talk about the moment itself it is definitely in the Dauphiné."

But Valverde's 2010 program will arguably see his most important battles take place without his bike, and will begin on January 12th. That is the date where his appeal against a decision taken by the anti-doping tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will be heard. CONI suspended Valverde from cycling in Italy for two-years due to a violation of the CONI anti-doping rules. Blood samples taken from Valverde in Italy during the 2008 Tour de France matched the DNA in blood bags seized during the Operation Puerto searches, prompting CONI's action.

Valverde will then face another day in court concerning the case between UCI/WADA and Valverde/Spanish Cycling Federation, which is scheduled to take place from 18 to 21 March 2010. The UCI and WADA are contesting the decision taken by the Spanish Cycling Federation not to open a disciplinary procedure against Alejandro Valverde. The UCI president Pat McQuaid has stated on several occasions that the UCI feels there is considerable evidence against Valverde in Operación Puerto.

The CAS had initially organised for the hearing to take place at the end of November 2009. However, at the request of the parties, the hearing was postponed in order for it to be able to take place over a minimum of three consecutive days.

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