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Valverde close to Movistar return

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 20, 2011, 18:04 BST,
Updated:
October 20, 2011, 19:07 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 21, 2011
Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde was looking chilled out at the start.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde was looking chilled out at the start.

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Spaniard free to return on January 1

Alejandro Valverde is at an advanced stage of his negotiations to return to the peloton in the colours of Movistar when his suspension for his part in Operacion Puerto expires on January 1. He was riding for the team, then known as Caisse d’Epargne, when he was finally banned for the 2006 case in May 2010.

“There’s nothing done yet, but it’s true that there is good feeling between both parties. It’s not a done deal but it’s true that everything is very advanced,” Valverde told diariosigloxxi.com.

“It’s true that there have been offers from other teams. But as I’ve said other times, I have to be grateful to my previous team, they have been very good to me. I was very happy with them and I think we have to be grateful.”

Valverde was first accused of blood doping under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006, but it took almost four years and the intervention of the Court of Arbitration for Sport before he was given a worldwide sanction. DNA testing of a blood sample taken by the Italian Olympic Committee during the Pratonevoso rest day at the 2008 Tour de France was ultimately enough to link Valverde to the blood bags seized from Fuentes.

Valverde was suspended on May 31, 2010, and saw his results from the first five months of that season expunged from the record books as his ban was backdated to January. The Spaniard stated that he was determined to ride the Tour de France and world championships in 2012.

“They are the two races that I have in mind,” he said. “The Worlds because I’ve often come very close, I have two silver medals and a bronze, and I know that I can do it, even if it isn’t easy.

“For one reason or another, I’ve only managed to finish the Tour twice, but on each occasion I finished in the top 10, sixth and eighth. It’s a lot, but I can fight for that.”

The Spaniard is also hopeful that he can earn selection for the Olympics after CAS recently decreed that an IOC rule barring sanctioned dopers from ever competing in the Games was “invalid and unenforceable.”

“It’s great news to know that I can be at the Olympics to represent my country at the highest level,” Valverde said. “I’m very enthusiastic.”
 

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