Alejandro Valverde expressed surprise and indignation upon learning of the latest development in the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI's) disciplinary proceedings against him. On Wednesday, CONI recommended a two-year suspension for the Spanish Valverde after it reportedly used DNA evidence to connect the 28-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider to the Operación Puerto investigation.
"CONI claims competence in judging evidence, which does not belong to it, and makes lamentable arguments, from a legal and logical point of view," read a statement from Valverde. "Thus CONI presents arguments which are completely erroneous, and it acts in an illegal way, disobeying the orders of the Spanish courts and violating the basic rights of riders."
Valverde concluded his response with a statement that the persons in charge of CONI had committed an offense in how they've obtained evidence and what they've done with it. "The necessary legal actions will shortly be undertaken against them."
So far the Italian organization has been the only agency behind the proceedings. When asked about the proposed ban and whether the International Cycling Union (UCI) would enforce it worldwide, UCI spokesperson Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews, "At this point, there is nothing we can do. It's an Italian proceeding, and we have to wait its conclusion. But it's not really a surprise knowing their efforts in order to find out all possible links with Puerto."
Even if the UCI does not choose to enforce CONI's recommended suspension outside the borders of Italy, Valverde will be unable to complete the Tour de France in July since stage 16 enters Italy. Valverde has previously stated that one of his primary goals this season is to achieve a Tour de France podium spot.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto