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CAS still to finalise Valverde hearing dates

By:
Shane Stokes
Published:
September 23, 2009, 22:14 BST,
Updated:
September 23, 2009, 23:23 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 24, 2009
Race:
Vuelta a España
Alejandro Valverde also claimed the combination classification win.

Alejandro Valverde also claimed the combination classification win.

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Whether Spaniard could lose Vuelta title still unknown

Vuelta a España champion Alejandro Valverde will have the first of his crucial hearings with the Court for Arbitration in Sport on an unspecified date next month, with the more important UCI/WADA appeal to follow several weeks later.

The Spanish rider is the subject of two separate cases in front of CAS. The first is his appeal against CONI's decision taken on May 11 to ban him from racing in Italy.

The move was taken after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said it had used DNA evidence to prove that some blood bags seized during the Operacion Puerto raids contained the Spanish rider's blood.

Valverde was prevented from riding the Tour de France because of this, due to the fact that the race passed through Italy.

The second appeal is one lodged by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in June, trying to compel the Spanish federation to hold a disciplinary hearing against Valverde. The federation has thus far supported the rider despite mounting evidence that he was linked to the doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

In the days leading up to Valverde's victory in the Vuelta a España, Cyclingnews sought to obtain clarification of the hearing dates from the court.

"The CAS would be ready to hear the CONI case in October and the WADA/UCI appeal in November," said CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb. "Some dates have been proposed to the parties but we could not yet make a final determination. A confirmation may come any time this week and we will announce the dates as soon as possible."

Cyclingnews also sought clarification as to whether Valverde could be stripped of his Vuelta title in the event that he faces a worldwide ban. Reeb said that this would only be determined during the hearing. "I cannot answer as this is also an issue for our panel of arbitrators," he said.

As CAS has not yet held the hearings, Valverde will be able to compete in Sunday's elite road race at cycling's World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

The UCI previously sought to block him from racing in the championships in Stuttgart two years ago, but CAS overturned that move. Pat McQuaid has said that the UCI will not impede his participation this time round.

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