Valverde possibly linked to Operación Grail doping investigation
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Valverde possibly linked to Operación Grail doping investigation

by VeloNation Press at 4:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

The Spanish press have reported that documents seized in searches for Operación Grail, a doping scandal uncovered by the Guardia Civil last November, could link Caisse d'Epargne rider Alejandro Valverde to the use of banned doping practices.  Doctor Walter Virú, a former colleague of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the central figure in the Operación Puerto scandal, had six files seized from his home consisting of some thiry pages of records.

Público has reported that, according to sources close to the investigation,  the names listed in the documents seized were uncoded, and can directly link the Spaniard to doping, unlike the documents that were seized from Fuentes during the Operación Puerto raids.

The computer and hand written notes cover the years 2001 to 2004 when Virú was the doctor for the Kelme team when Valverde rode there.  In the records it details which cyclists received performance-enhancing drugs, what, how much, and when doping products were to be taken, as well as the target competitions for the cyclists.

Information contained in the documents was deemed important enough for copies to be sent to judge Antonio Serrano two weeks ago, the man responsible for sealing up the Operación Puerto scandal.  Investigators were surprised that Virú had not destroyed the incriminating files, and assume that he either forgot about them, or he was holding them in case he needed to use them against one of the riders at some point in the future.

Valverde is currently awaiting the decision on a CAS appeal by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) that would force the Spanish federation to impose a global suspension suspension on the Spaniard.  Currently he is serving a two-year suspension in Italy that ends in May of next year for involvement with Operación Puerto.  CONI took blood samples from Valverde when the Tour de France visited Italy in 2008.  His DNA was matched to the contents of blood bag number 18 that was seized during the 2006 Operación Puerto raids.  That bag was also labelled with the code name 'Valv.Piti', which some have taken as further proof of a link. Piti was the name of his pet dog, as verified in sworn evidence by a Spanish journalist during his January hearing this year.  The journalist, Quique Iglesias, had visited Valverde at home in 2006 just prior to the scandal.

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