Spanish fed’ says Valverde good to go
By Andrew Hood
Officials from the Spanish cycling federation say there is no new evidence that Alejandro Valverde worked with alleged Puerto ringleader Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and will not prevent him from starting next month’s world championships
Last week, the UCI said a review of 6000 pages of evidence found in the Operación Puerto files revealed that Valverde was linked to the alleged doping ring and insisted that the Spanish cycling federation open an inquiry against the defending ProTour champion.
Spanish officials said this week that after a review of documents forwarded by the UCI that there’s no new information that would require it to open a formal inquiry against the Caisse d’Epargne star.
Valverde has been dogged by suspicions that he’s part of the Puerto doping ring since the scandal broke in May of 2006.
Valverde has repeatedly denied working with Fuentes despite circumstantial evidence that he might be mentioned as one of the nicknames found in police raids of Fuentes’ offices.
Some insist that the initials “Valv” and the nickname “Piti” could belong to Valverde, though Spanish authorities never officially recognized the link in any police reports or court documents.
Spanish police found a bag of blood that some insist could belong to Valverde. Valverde, however, said he would not undergo DNA sampling unless specifically ordered to do so by a court.
The UCI is also alleging that Valverde missed an out-of-competition control in late June just days ahead of the start of the 2007 Tour de France, according to Spanish media reports.
According to Valverde’s lawyer, Francisco Sánchez Sabater, the UCI is giving Valverde 10 days to justify his absence from a surprise anti-doping control on June 23 at his home.
According to Sabater, Valverde sent the UCI a fax on June 12 outlining changes to his racing schedule after abandoning the Dauphiné Libéré, indicating that he instead would be in Eindhoven, Holland, from June 23-25 to compete in the team time trial competition.
Sabater says that Valverde also underwent a post-race doping control June 23 in Holland.
So far, Valverde has refused to comment on the latest rounds between the UCI and the Spanish cycling federation.
Sabater also said Valverde is considering legal action against media outlets and other organizations, including the UCI, that continue to insinuate that Valverde is implicated in the Puerto Affaire.