Valverde to face two court hearings
Alejandro Valverde, Vuelta a Espana 2009, stage 18
Alejandro Valverde will face two hearings at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the New Year related to allegations of blood doping.
On January 12-14, 2010, the Spanish Caisse d'Epargne pro will appeal against his current two-year ban from competition on Italian soil set by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
The second hearing, on March 18-21, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will appeal against the Spanish cycling federation's refusal to opening a disciplinary hearing against Valverde.
Both cases relate to Valverde's alleged involvement with blood doping, specifically centred on the Madrid laboratory of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes. The clinic and Fuentes were the subject of the notorious Operacion Puerto organised doping investigation.
CONI banned Valverde from racing in Italy for two years on May 11 after claiming that it had matched DNA in a blood sample taken during the 2008 Tour de France and blood bag number 18 from Fuentes' Madrid laboratory. This, it said, contravened the UCI's anti-doping regulations and a ban was imposed.
Valverde missed the 2009 Tour de France as the race entered Italian soil, but was free to ride in the Vuelta a Espana, which he won.
Despite the impending hearings, Valverde intends to kick off his 2010 racing season at the opening ProTour event of the year at the Tour Down Under, Australia, on January 19.
Court of Arbitration for Sport