In news that is guaranteed to prove an embarrassment to world cycling’s governing body, the UCI has confirmed that Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde has replaced Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert at the top of the individual world rankings.
The Caisse d’Epargne rider’s move to top place in the rankings follows his victory in yesterday’s final stage of the Tour de Romandie, which helped him claim the overall title in the race.
The UCI confirmed the news on its website, but made no mention of its ongoing battle, which we reported on last week, to force RFEC, the Spanish cycling federation, to take action against the cyclist with regard to his alleged links to Operacion Puerto.
The UCI, together with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), have appealed that case to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a decision expected later this month.
The governing body has previously said that it intends to extend Valverde’s two-year ban from cycling in Italy, implemented by CONI, the Italian Olympic authority last May, worldwide, although it is presumably waiting for the latest CAS decision until deciding exactly what action to take.
Valverde’s victory in the Tour de Romandie and subsequent elevation to the top of the world rankings have met with vocal disapproval from fans and fellow riders alike on the social networking site, Twitter.
Garmin-Transitions rider Danny Pate summed up the feelings of many when he posted a message on the site yesterday saying “Woohoo, Valverde won another race..... Cool.... Thanks a lot Spanish Federation, UCI, and WADA.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.