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Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
Biological Passport case likely to go to CAS
Slovenian rider Tadej Valjavec has been cleared by his national anti-doping agency. The AG2R rider, currently suspended by his team, had been accused of blood doping within the framework of the UCI's Biological Passport in early May this year, with the questionable values dating back to 2009.
However, according to Slovenian website siol.net, the disciplinary board of the Slovenian NAK ruled on Thursday, July 29, that there was not enough evidence to open disciplinary proceedings against Valjavec. The panel even criticised the application of the Biological Passport in the case, saying that it failed to take into account all the factors that could explain Valjavec's blood values naturally. Moreover, it found that some of the tests were not carried out in accordance with the technical documents affecting the test results.
The rider had previously pointed to a stomach disease he suffered at the 2009 Tour of California, saying this could have altered his blood parameters. Now, it seems that several legal, systemic and administrative arguments were used to convince the panel of his innocence.
The case will likely be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne now. The UCI has one month to appeal the decision.
Earlier this year, Italian riders Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis were sentenced to two-year-suspensions by their national Olympic Committee CONI, also on the basis of results from their biological passports. Franco Pellizotti, whose name was released by the UCI at the same time as Valjavec's, may also have to sit out a two-year ban at CONI's recommendation.
Spaniard Jesus Rosendo Prado, on the other hand, will not face disciplinary proceedings by the Spanish cycling federation. In June, his Andalucia-Cajasur team announced that the doubtful blood values in his biological passport were dated from April 20, 2009, and could be explained by abundant bleeding due to a hemorrhoid crisis.