Valverde ends season early

Reigning Vuelta a España champion Alejandro Valverde has brought his season to a premature end admitting he needs rest before beginning to plan his race objectives for next season. Valverde was originally slated to compete in the Paris-Bourges race on Thursday and the Paris Tours one-day classic next weekend, but after discussions with his Caisse d'Epargne team he has decided to hang up his bike. "I need to rest both mentally and physically before thinking towards next season and resuming training," said Valverde, who will compete in a few criterium races in the coming weeks.

By Agence France Presse

Valverde's 2010 plans depend largely on the outcome of two appeals now in front of CAS.

Valverde’s 2010 plans depend largely on the outcome of two appeals now in front of CAS.

Photo: Graham Watson

Reigning Vuelta a España champion Alejandro Valverde has brought his season to a premature end admitting he needs rest before beginning to plan his race objectives for next season.

Valverde was originally slated to compete in the Paris-Bourges race on Thursday and the Paris Tours one-day classic next weekend, but after discussions with his Caisse d’Epargne team he has decided to hang up his bike.

“I need to rest both mentally and physically before thinking towards next season and resuming training,” said Valverde, who will compete in a few criterium races in the coming weeks.

As well as the Vuelta, Valverde also won the Tour of Cataluña and Dauphiné Libéré stage races earlier this season.

Valverde, however, failed to live up to expectations and win a medal at the world road race championships last week when Australia’s Cadel Evans won the rainbow jersey in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

More ominous, however, is the fact that Valverde’s future in the sport is hanging in the balance ahead of an upcoming decision by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Valverde is currently serving a two-year ban in Italy handed down by the country’s Olympic Committee (CONI) in May.

CONI investigators testified that a blood sample taken from the Spaniard during the 2008 Tour de France when it passed through Italy matches DNA from a blood bag seized during the ongoing Operación Puerto doping case that first came to light in May 2006.

CAS is currently reviewing two appeals in the matter.

The first is from Valverde protesting against his CONI ban, which meant he could not race this year’s Tour de France because it again passed through Italy.

The other is a joint appeal from cycling’s ruling body the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) asking CAS to force the Spanish cycling federation, which is supposed to act on any misconduct by their affiliated riders, to open a case against Valverde.

An upcoming CAS decision could give the UCI grounds to impose a global ban against the 29-year-old Spaniard.