CAS rules against Valjavec in biological passport doping case
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Friday, April 22, 2011

CAS rules against Valjavec in biological passport doping case

by Shane Stokes at 6:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Two year ban for Slovenian

Tadej ValjavecAfter a long battle against doping charges, Slovenian rider Tadej Valjavec has confirmed that he has lost his case in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “We lost,” he told Bicikel.com. “I just was on the phone. One hour or more. We lost…I do not know why.”

The news has subsequently been confirmed by CAS, which said that it was overturning an earlier ruling by the Senate of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia. “The CAS has set aside the decision of the OCS to exonerate the athlete from any doping offense and has imposed a two-year ban on him starting on 20 January 2011, as well as the disqualification of all his results obtained between 19 April and 30 September 2009 and a fine of EUR 52’500,” it stated today.

“The CAS found that anti-doping tests performed in April and August 2009 revealed abnormalities in the context of the athlete’s biological passport to a degree which was entirely consistent with blood manipulation. The CAS has therefore confirmed the reliability of the indirect method of detection based on the blood profile of athletes and already established in previous CAS decisions concerning the Italian cyclists Pietro Caucchioli and Franco Pellizotti.”

The UCI announced in May 3rd 2010 that he had suspect biological passport figures, suspending him from all competition and instructing his national federation to open disciplinary proceedings. It also did the same in relation to the Italian Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) and the Spaniard Jesús Rosendo Prado (Andalucía-Cajasur).

Valjavec claimed that the blood irregularities were due to illness, with a stomach ulcer being one of the main issues. The day after his case was announced by the UCI, he blamed the medical staff of his-then team, Ag2r La Mondiale.

“The doctor has not done his job. The UCI was not notified of my health problems, so they began a process against me,” he claimed on his website. He claimed that he was sick for much of 2009, but the AG2r medical team failed to report his condition to the sport's governing body.

His explanation was accepted by the Slovenian national anti-doping federation. It stated in late July that it believed there was no firm case against him, clearing him to race once more. However in mid-September the UCI confirmed that it had appealed this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Valjavec continued to search for a big contract but the uncertainty over his situation meant that he had to sign for the small Zheroquadro Radenska Continental team for 2011. He placed second overall in the recent Cinturon Ciclista a Mallorca and was due to take part in the Presidential Tour of Turkey, which begins in two days’ time.

Prior to his biological passport problems, Valjavec had a successful career. The-then Ag2r la Mondiale rider was tenth in the 2008 Tour de France and ninth in both the 2004 and 2009 Giri d’Italia. With a two year ban hanging over him, it is highly unlikely that the 34 year old will compete in either of those two races again.

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