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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) won the Dauphiné Libéré for the second year in a row.
Valverde awaits a decision within next week from the UCI
After his second consecutive overall win at the Dauphiné, Alejandro Valverde didn't hide that he's having "difficult moments" with the possible extension of his Italian ban internationally. "With the support of my representatives, my family and my team, I manage to stay focused on my training and my racing," the Spanish champion said. "Sometimes I get discouraged, then I found the motivation again. My win at the Volta a Catalunya has helped me be very motivated for the Dauphiné.
"I don't externalize my anger but I know it's an injustice to suspend me and I'm confident that everything will be proved in my favour at the end," Valverde continued. "This win is also a message to the organisation of the Tour de France, yes. I still hope to do it. The decision is not in my hands."
Valverde awaits a decision within next week from the UCI to globalise the Italian sanction, which is quite likely considering that the governing body already requested that he wouldn't take part in the world championship for the next two years for the same involvement in Operacion Puerto. But once again, Valverde is also likely to win at CAS and therefore to be able to participate to the Tour de France.
If so, he isn't able to set ambitions for himself as there are too many doubts in his mind. "It's hard for me to say now what my goal will be if I race. We'll first see if I go or not. I want to go and do from the first to the last day, I don't want to go and have to pull out before the race goes to Italy, but that would eventually be the team's decision. The level of form I have now will be hard to maintain. For sure, the Astana riders will be some of the most difficult rivals."
The first of them, Alberto Contador, clearly assisted Valverde at the Dauphiné every time that Cadel Evans attacked. Valverde denied there was an agreement between them but their cooperation was obvious. "If I can help him at the Tour de France, I'll do it," Valverde said to a question about the possible help that Contador could look for in case of an offensive by Lance Armstrong. "But if I have to attack him, I'll do it as much as he'd attack me."