After months of speculation, a decision on whether Alejandro Valverde will ride in this year’s Tour de France has come from an unlikely source – his team.
Caisse d’Epargne announced its roster for the Tour on Tuesday and Valverde’s name was not on the list.
Valverde’s participation in the 2009 Tour became virtual impossibility when the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) banned him from racing on Italian soil for two years last month. This year’s Tour passes through Italy and Valverde could have faced an embarrassing stand-off with Italian authorities had he tried to race in the country.
CONI alleges that it has evidence that the Spaniard’s DNA matches that of bagged blood found in the Dr Eufemiano Fuentes’ Madrid laboratory at the centre of the Operacion Puerto doping scandal.
Valverde has always maintained his innocence, and lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday, June 19, to try and overturn the ban.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is currently studying evidence given to them by CONI to decide whether the two-year ban should be extended worldwide. A decision is expected this week.
Throughout the whole affair, which has dragged on for months and months, Valverde could have done one thing to resolve the matter and prove his innocence – openly provide a DNA sample and have it compared to the blood found in Fuentes’ laboratory.
Even his sponsors must now be losing patience.