Valverde denies, Manzano confirms, journalist says Piti exists
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valverde denies, Manzano confirms, journalist says Piti exists

by Conal Andrews at 6:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Day two of the Alejandro Valverde CAS appeal in Lausanne saw the rider deny all suggestions of using banned substances, while former Kelme team-mate Jesus Manzano contradicted this when he confirmed that a systematic doping programme was in existence.

Valverde is currently preparing for the Tour Down Under in Australia and gave his testimony via telephone. He rejected talk of any prior working relationship with doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, saying that he was solely the brother of his own doctor, claimed never to have had a dog called Piti, and rejected any suggestions that he had doped during his career.

Manzano has already rubbished the latter claim, saying in the past that Valverde was as involved as the rest of the squad, and he insisted today that widespread doping took place in the team. He said that the ‘drugs were a way of life,’ according to la Gazzetta dello Sport.

Valverde’s credibility took a serious knock when the Spanish journalist Quique Iglesias spoke about an article he had done just before the start of the Operación Puerto scandal, entitled ‘A day with Valverde.’ In it he had mentioned that the rider had a dog named Piti, and he confirmed that once again today.

Many of those involved in Operación Puerto were thought to have used their pets’ names as codewords. Valverde’s DNA was reported to have been analysed by Italian investigators and matched to blood bags seized during the Puerto raids in May 2006. This led to a two year ban from racing in Italy, and in turn brought about Valverde’s current appeal against that.

The appeal will be concluded tomorrow, with CAS due to issue a press release afterwards. However it has been reported that an actual finding may take 30 days.

Valverde also faces another CAS hearing in March, with the UCI and WADA seeking to force the Spanish federation to sanction the rider.

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