Valverde denies accusing Vicioso of being infamous blood bag 18
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Valverde denies accusing Vicioso of being infamous blood bag 18

by VeloNation Press at 9:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Caisse d'Epargne rider Alejandro Valverde has come out and denied reports in the Spanish press that in the recent hearings before the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) regarding his Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) ban in Italy, he accused former Kelme teammate Ángel Vicioso of being the infamous blood bag labeled "18 Valv. (Piti)". Vicioso has ridden for the Andalucia-CajaSur team for the past two seasons, and last rode alongside Valverde on the Kelme-Costa Blanca team in 2002.

A statement released by Valverde's legal team today said that "a witness called to declare that the bag number label 18 could correspond to a rider that is not Mr. Valverde" testified at the hearing, which would imply that the individual mentioned Vicioso. The statement went on to say that "Mr. Alejandro Valverde has never accused any rider of being part of the [Operacion Puerto] group and that, as a consequence, what is written in relation to that point is totally wrong."

The Spaniard's legal team continued by saying that they limited themselves to only defend Valverde and his interests, and the accusations in the newspaper regarding Vicioso are completely untrue. He has repeatedly denied that blood bag number 18 belonged to him, despite the fact that Spanish journalist Quique Iglesias wrote an article about Valverde 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 fact once again at an earlier hearing in January.

Valverde's ban on Italian soil was upheld in the CAS hearing earlier this week. He subsequently vowed to fight the decision in Swiss court and gave several reasons in a statement following the decision. "We consider one of the judges as partial, since he has worked for the World Anti Doping Agency [WADA]. The partiality of this judge is under investigation from the Swiss Federal Court, which should decide accordingly."

The legal team also asserted that the testing was done illegally in the first place. "Spanish law rulings prohibit using samples of Operación Puerto. This decision from February 2009 was confirmed by a court in Madrid. CAS does not have the authority to ignore a decision by the Spanish Justice System."

Valverde sees a general problem with the ruling. "The CAS decision clearly damages the fundamental rights of the rider, especially a just judgment and the right to privacy."

The defense concluded that they shouldn't be bound by the decision. "The lack of impartiality from this panel and the clear violations of fundamental right mean that we won't comply with it and continue our legal proceedings through the Swiss Federal Court."

The International Cycling Union (UCI) was thrilled with the news, and said they will work towards extending his ban globally.

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