CAS suspends Alejandro Valverde for two years from 1st January 2010. Keeps his Vuelta and other wins

Finally; Valverde gets his comeuppance, loses his prize money and UCI points but keeps his places

by nick_rearden   May 31, 2010  

Alejandro Valverde (pic: Photosport International)

In an ironic twist that had earlier in the day seen the Union Cycliste International (UCI) issue a press release showing Caisse d’Epargne rider Alejandro Valverde still in the lead of the world professional rankings, this evening a second announced that he was now suspended for two years following a long investigation by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) into the long-running Operacion Puerto blood doping scandal.

If it's not the end - Valverde's Spanish federation will now most likely have to respond having hitherto refused to co-operate by handing over incriminating evidence - at least it looks like being the beginning of the end of a messy business that began when the Italian Olympic authorities took a blood sample from the Spaniard at the 2008 Tour de France as it passed through Italy.  Sure, enough, it matched one of the blood bags containing the banned blood booster EPO from the now-famous 2006 Operacion Puerto Spanish police raid against the notorious Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

Puerto eventually sealed the downfall of Jan Ullrich and 34 other professional cyclists including Valverde - whose blood bag was labelled 'Valv. (Piti) after his pet dog - although, interestingly none of the up to 200 footballers and tennis players that were also implicated but never named after the raid.

Today CAS announced, "The CAS has partially upheld the appeals filed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) and the Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde. Accordingly, the CAS has imposed a two-year ban on Alejandro Valverde starting on 1 January 2010 but has denied the request of the UCI and WADA that results obtained by the athlete prior to the beginning of the suspension be annulled.”

On this last point, although he gets to keep his official places at the 2009 Dauphiné Libéré and Vuelta e Espana, he does lose his places since 1st Jan for example the Tour de Romandie,  his UCI points - making Cadel Evans the new world number one - and he has to return any prizes received.

Here's the full announcement from the UCI.

Press release - CAS decision on the Alejandro Valverde case: the UCI’s reaction

31. 05. 2010

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is satisfied by the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the Alejandro Valverde case. Mr Valverde has been suspended from all competition for two years commencing 1 January 2010.

By deciding to suspend the Spanish rider, the CAS agreed with the UCI, which had appealed in 2007 together with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the refusal of the Spanish Cycling Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Mr Valverde for his involvement in Operation Puerto.

The UCI and cycling as a whole have certainly suffered greatly from this affair. The damage caused by Mr Valverde's behaviour since the UCI became convinced of his guilt cannot be fully compensated for by this regulatory sanction. Nevertheless, the UCI is now relieved and contented with CAS’s decision as it resolves a situation that had become untenable.

Following the CAS's decision, Mr Valverde will not be allowed to participate in any cycling events before 31 December 2011. Furthermore, he has been disqualified from all competitions in which he has competed since the beginning of the year and all points allocated to him have been removed. Mr Valverde must also return all prizes received.

The UCI World Ranking has been modified accordingly.

3 user comments

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Seriously, it's about time.

velovoices.com

kittyfondue's picture

posted by kittyfondue [56 posts]
1st June 2010 - 12:50

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Sounds like a deal was struck with valv.piti, to quietly get this doping scandal out of the way, before all the fresh merde hits the fan. In return he gets to keep his Vuleta win, and will probably come straight back after the two years are up. Sadly, Sammy Sanchez and Euskaltel-Euskadi probably didn't get a seat at the table.

posted by handlebarcam [530 posts]
1st June 2010 - 14:41

1 Like

Rule-nerdery follows Nerd

I wondered about changes to the rules since Puerto; the rule that CAS mentions, 15.2, is now 21.2. The old rules were these:
http://www.albertabicycle.ab.ca/uploads/files/Documents/commissaire/part...

So what has the UCI added since 2004, and why? There's 4 new rules, the other 2 are renumbered paragraphs.

Rule 16: if you retire during an investigation, the investigation will not stop. Interesting as its saying that retiring and making a comeback isn't an escape route from charges. I dunno, who could this be about? Thinking

Rule 17: if a national anti-doping org discovers "non-sample" evidence (like the Puerto bags) but can't act on it, UCI takes jurisdiction. Also new, Rule 12 says if the national org acts, UCI doesn't have to. This couldn't be more obviously about avoiding another Puerto fiasco.

Rule 18: the rules apply to everyone involved in racing, licensed or not, (so managers, doctors, mechanics, etc). The sanction here is a fine of the person/team/federation that uses their services; up to 10,000 CHF. Aimed at Ferrari, Fuentes, etc surely? So there's a blacklist... obvious question - who's on it?

posted by bazzargh [144 posts]
1st June 2010 - 15:22

1 Like