Cycling authorities ban Valverde over doping claims

30th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 August 2007, MADRID - The International Cycling Union said Wednesday it had barred Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, the UCI ProTour champion in 2006, from riding in next month's world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

30 August 2007

MADRID - The International Cycling Union said Wednesday it had barred Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, the UCI ProTour champion in 2006, from riding in next month's world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

The union said it suspected Valverde may be involved in the Spanish police's Operation Puerto inquiry into Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor said to have masterminded doping programmes for athletes.

"During the meticulous studying of the 6,000-page Puerto dossier, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has concluded that several documents may show the involvement of Alejandro Valverde in the affair," it said.

The UCI said it had requested the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider as soon as possible.

"These proceedings would not imply any guilt on the part of Alejandro Valverde.

"However, according to UCI regulations, and to safeguard the atmosphere and reputation of the world championships, Alejandro Valverde will be prevented from participating in the forthcoming UCI Road World Championships in Stuttgart."

The UCI added that if the Spanish rider's involvement in the Puerto affair was confirmed and he were to receive at least a two-year suspension, then as a signatory of the "Riders' Commitment to a New Cycling", "he would be obliged to pay the UCI a contribution to the anti-doping campaign of a sum equal to his annual salary for 2007, in addition to any regulatory fines."

The German city of Stuttgart will host the world cycling championships between September 25-30.

The Spanish Cycling Federation last September publicly supported Valverde, with chairman Fulgencio Sanchez saying: "We refute the accounts in certain media on a supposed implication of Valverde in Operation Puerto."

Valverde had already said he would not compete in the Tour of Spain, starting this weekend and in which he finished runner-up last year, in order to concentrate on the world championships.

Last year, he finished behind Vuelta winner Alexandre Vinokourov, who tested positive for blood doping on this year's scandal-plagued Tour de France.

The RFEC said in a statement that it had called on its secretary general and legal team to study the case of Valverde and would not in the meantime make an official comment.

[Copyright AFP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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