Despite one of its staff being implicated in the Operation Puerto doping scandal, the Comunidad Valenciana team has travelled to the Alps for some high mountain reconnaissance of the most decisive stages of this year's Tour of France. The squad concentrated on climbs that were easily accessible for riders who contested stage 6 of the Dauphiné Liberé last Saturday, such as Alpe d'Huez, Galibier, Croix de Fer, Joux Plane and Toussuire.
Providing the Spanish squad remains invited, Rubén Plaza will captain Vicente Belda's team in France, with Eladio Jiménez, David Bernabeu and David Blanco his main supporting riders. Julián Sánchez Pimienta, Juan Gomis, José Luis Martínez, José Adrián Bonilla and David Latasa will complete the roster.
The team will return Spain for the Subida al Naranco, June 14 before the start of the Vuelta a Asturias, June 16-20 which will provide a stiff test going into the Tour. Manager Vicente Belda is confident that his team will be in France this July, but team trainer Ignacio Labarta was one of four people arrested by Operación Puerto police and Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc has implied that he reserves the right to withdraw Comunidad Valenciana's Tour invitation.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto