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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparge)
Spain's Worlds favourite to use Lugano as base during Championships
Having stated on Tuesday that Alejandro Valverde would be staying in the same Italian hotel in Como as the rest of the Spanish team at the Mendrisio Worlds, it has since been revealed that Valverde will not be spending his nights sleeping in Italy.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, Lugano's Villa Sassa, which is on Swiss soil, close to the Worlds course, has received calls "from a national team asking for rooms". Although it is unlikely that Spain will move all of its team from their current lodgings in Como, it has confirmed Valverde will definitely not be staying there.
That decision stems both from the ban imposed on Valverde by the Italian Olympic Committee from competing in Italy and the criticism aimed at him on Tuesday by the Italian president of the ProTour, Vittorio Adorni. He stated that the fact Valverde is still racing after being banned in Italy is "shameful and disturbing".
Adorni had also said he would be asking International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid to ban Valverde from taking part at the Worlds based on his alleged involvement in the Operación Puerto affair. However, Spanish cycling federation president Juan Carlos Castaño insists this will not happen.
"I met with Pat McQuaid yesterday and he assured me that until the Court of Arbitration for Sport resolves the case pending over Valverde the UCI will not be taking action against him," Castaño told AS.
Asked about Adorni, Valverde said: "Me, a stain? I don’t know who the stain is at these Championships. I think there are others and they need to be pointed out." Then pressed on his ban from racing in Italy, he added: "I am prohibited from racing in Italy, but I can come here on holiday, go to a hotel or wherever I want."
It seems unlikely, though, that Valverde will be holidaying in Italy once his controversy-hit season draws to a close.
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