Alejandro Valverde takes legal action against Jesús Manzano's doping accusations
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Valverde takes legal action against Manzano's accusations

by VeloNation Press at 10:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Embattled Cassie d'Epargne rider Alejandro Valverde is currently racing in the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, and while he is busy doing his work on the roads, his legal team is at home preparing a complaint against ex-teammate Jesús Manzano for doping accusations made against their client.

In a hearing earlier this week at the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) where Valverde appealed his two-year ban imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee, Manzano testified that he had witnessed his former teammate participate in systematic doping practices on their former Kelme team.

Manzano echoed his statements in the CAS hearing to Spanish newspaper Publico.es saying, "Yes I saw Valverde doping on many occasions. We were teammates on Kelme in 2002 and 2003 and shared a room many times. It was a widespread organized doping system. If you question it, you're on the streets."

In a statement Valverde's legal team said, "Following Mr. Jesús Manzano’s statements, published by newspaper Público on January 16, in which he accused Alejandro Valverde to have used prohibited substances and methods on several occasions, in addition to denying the facts Mr. Manzano stated, we communicate that we will start the suitable legal actions in order to restore Alejandro Valverde’s honor and image, which were damaged by these statements."

Valverde's legal team has also said that they requested a copy of the CAS recording that has Manzano's statements.

In the interview with Publico.es Manzano said that he had nothing personal against Valverde, explaining that he felt Valverde should have just confessed and he could have avoided this entire situation. "If he had confessed, he would have a reduced sanction, a year without competing and that's it." He went on to explain how in Italy they had to sacrifice [Ivan] Basso for Operación Puerto, in Germany it was [Jan] Ullrich, but Spain has done nothing in the case.

Manzano is the individual responsible for bringing attention to systematic doping in Spanish cycling, and it was his statements that led the Guardia Civil to conduct the Operación Puerto investigation. The former professional cyclist is currently working as a gardener, and it is not known what sort of financial burden this latest effort by Valverde's legal team will cause. The action against Manzano does have the potential to backfire on the Cassie d'Epargne rider in the court of public opinion.

Since the revelation of the Operación Puerto scandal in 2006, the UCI has taken a hard-line stance against cheaters in the sport. Out of this came their revolutionary biological passport system, which started to bear fruit during the 2009 season. The system will soon begin to make its way into other sports.

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