May 31, 2010 (Lausanne, Switzerland) – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has handed Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) a two-year suspension world wide. Valverde, 30, most notably won the 2009 Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain). The appeals decision announced today – detailed in a CAS release – pitted the UCI and WADA (World Anti-doping Agency), which requested the ban, against the Spanish Cycling Federation that did not want to open an investigation.
While the CAS ruled in favour of the UCI and WADA, it rejected some of the conditions they asked for. “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (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.”
The suspension is a result of Valverde’s involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal. The ban has been back-dated to January, 2010 which means Valverde is allowed to keep all his results prior to the suspension. So far this year, Valverde has won the Tour de Romandie which it’s expected that he’ll be stripped of – see UCI release below.
CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee had already posed a 2-yr ban on Valverde from competing in Italy for Valverde’s association with Operacion Puerto. Thus he did not race at the 2009 Tour de France which passed through a part of Italy.
UCI Reaction to CAS Decision on Alejandro Valverde Case
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.
UCI Press Service