By Antonio J. Salmerón
According to a document that Spanish newsagency Europa Press has had access to, all of the Comunidad Valenciana riders named in Operacion Puerto have been cleared of any involvement by Spanish court number 31. The court's secretary, Manuel Sanchez Martin, sent a document to the team dated July 28, which stated that the 13 Comunidad Valenciana riders "do not appear in the list of those implicated in Operación Puerto."
The riders included Vicente Ballester, David Bernabéu, David Blanco, Jose Adrián Bonilla, Javier Charro, Javier Gomis, David Latasa, Manuel Lloret, Jose Luis Martinez, David Muñoz, Antonio Olmo, Javier Pascual Rodriguez and Rubén Plaza. "There is nobody involved in any doping scandal," said the team's manager Vicente Belda to Europa Press.
Belda added that the team was going to pursue damages against Unipublic for excluding it from the Vuelta a España, although this will be not be done until September.
The news prompted a reaction from the Valencian government, which sponsors the team, and only recently announced it would withdraw its support. The government said it will honour its contractual obligations with Comunidad Valenciana until December 31.
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