Alejandro Valverde preparing quietly for Tour de France start
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Alejandro Valverde preparing quietly for Tour de France start

by Jered Gruber at 11:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spaniard awaits CAS ruling

Caisse d'Epargne's embattled leader, Alejandro Valverde, continues to train hard in preparation for a full on go at the rapidly approaching Tour de France even as a final ruling on his potential worldwide ban looms. The 2009 Vuelta a Espana winner, who currently leads the UCI standings, will start the Tour de France as a major favorite, so long as a ruling against him is not passed before the start in Rotterdam. A quick ruling on a potential worldwide extension of his ban was promised, but there has been no news since the CAS ruling dismissed his appeal against the CONI sanction in March.

Valverde is currently training diligently for the Tour in Spain's mountainous and high altitude area of Sierra Nevada. He is training with teammates, Luis Leon Sanchez, Jose Joaquin Rojas,and Francisco Perez. Of this group, only Sanchez is guaranteed a spot in Caisse d'Epargne's Tour squad.

Valverde has often turned to Sierra Nevada for training camps. He cites the mountains, the steep, winding roads, and the great weather as good reason to pick the area. "The weather is great, about 16 degrees in Sierra Nevada, even yesterday we reached 23 degrees. We'll be here until next week. Until then, I picked a good place for tanning."

Valverde will stay in the Sierra Nevada region leading into the Dauphine Libere, which starts on June 6th. The rider from Murcia, who has officially lost his appeals in Italy and now waits to see if he'll be banned worldwide, can still compete until that decision is made.

Following Valverde's overall win at the Tour de Romandie at the end of April, enraged Italian Cycling Federation president, Renato di Rocco said that Romandie would be the last time Valverde would win before being sanctioned. CONI president Gianni Petrucci agreed with Rocco's assessment and said that a worldwide sanction would be in place before the start of the Tour de France. Valverde, however, has proved to be an elusive target, and it seems it would be wiser to bet on a Valverde start in Rotterdam rather than against him.


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