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Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
Slovenian snared by the UCI Biological Passport
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland has ruled in favour of the International Cycling Union (UCI), overturning the decision of the Slovenian Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OCS) to clear Tadej Valjavec of doping.
The CAS ruled that Valjavec serves a two-year ban starting from January 2011 and has also cancelled all his results obtained between April 19 and September 30, 2009, when raced with the AG2R team. He has also been fined 52,500 Euro.
Valjavec's 2009 Biological Passport results showed abnormalities that were consistent with blood doping but he was eventually cleared by the Slovenian Olympic Committee after he claimed the blood value variations were caused by training at altitude and illness.
In march the CAS also confirmed the suspension of Italian riders Pietro Caucchioli and Franco Pellizotti, reinforcing the validity of the biological passport and the indirect method of detection based on the blood profile of athletes.
After being cleared by his national Olympic Committee, Valjavec found a place with the tiny Manisaspor Cycling team from Turkey. He finished second overall in the recent Cinturon Ciclista a Mallorca in Spain and was named in the team for the Presidential Tour of Turkey which begins on Sunday.
However after the CAS verdict he is banned from racing until January 2013.