Alejandro Valverde doesn’t want any surprises from the Italians and will not sleep in Italy during this week’s world championships as planned.
According to the Spanish daily AS, Valverde and possibly other members of the elite men’s road team will sleep in a hotel in Switzerland rather than with the rest of the Spanish national team at a hotel already reserved in Italy.
The Spanish national team booked a hotel in nearby Italy last fall, but Valverde is looking for a hotel and plans to sleep safely within Swiss borders during the 2009 road cycling world championships, AS reported.
The recently crowned Vuelta a España champion is banned for two years from racing in Italy by CONI for what they say is proof he was linked to the Operación Puerto blood doping ring and wants to avoid any possible conflict from the Italian authorities.
An appeal by Valverde’s legal team to the Court of Arbitration for Sport challenging the jurisdiction of the Italian federation to impose a disciplinary sanction on a Spanish rider is pending, with a decision expected sometime this fall.
Spanish cycling federation president Juan Carlos Castaña told AS that the UCI promised him that Valverde has the green light to compete in the worlds.
“We registered Alejandro and there was no problem,” Castaño said. “I met yesterday with (UCI president) Pat McQuaid and he assured me that until CAS rules on his case, they are not going to act against him.”
Valverde is one of the favorites for victory in Sunday’s elite men’s road race.
“I am banned from racing in Italy,” Valverde was quoted in AS. “But I can go there for vacation, or to a hotel, whenever I want.”