By Monika Prell
Spanish national selector Francisco Antequera is very angry about the UCI's interdiction of Alejandro Valverde's participation in the World Championships (September 30), while the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) promised an analysis.
"It is barbarity!" Antequera said to AS. "I heard it from our press chief, because they announced it late, but if Valverde cannot ride this would mean a slap in the face of the entire team."
He defended the leader of the Spanish team. "Alejandro is not implicated in the Operación Puerto. Last year, the Superior Sport Council and the RFEC affirmed this, and they repeated it this year, because there was such a rumour about him. All other rumours are meant only to entangle Valverde in a case which is not like they say and meant to cause him damage.
"At this moment, we are the strongest team for the Worlds. With the absence of Valverde, the team will be paralysed, even if we still have the trump of [Oscar] Freire."
Antequera noted that the UCI is contradicting itself. Valverde "is a rider with a license from the UCI and who competed in the Tour de France," he said, according to Dario Vasco. "Now they can't say the contrary. This is a matter the RFEC and the Superior Sport Council will have to resolve, because some days ago, [Valverde] still had the right to ride and now he doesn't?"
(Read No EPO in Basso's blood bags but different for Valverde for more information on Valverde's alleged involvement in Puerto.)
RFEC will analyse
The RFEC released a communiqué in response to the UCI's call for disciplinary proceedings in the case of Valverde.
The communiqué affirmed that "The president of the RFEC conferred to the general secretary and legal advisor of the RFEC the detailed analysis of the mentioned documentation and all the contained data, and the RFEC won't speak officially until the end of the analysis."
RFEC's press release added, "at the end of the analysis, a communiqué will be released with the actions the RFEC will be specified."