By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde isn't concerned about the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) re-opening its enquiries into the Operación Puerto doping scandal, outlining that he has nothing to do with the Italian body's investigations. Last week CONI announced it would hear riders, doctors and team directors that could shed some further light the case after its anti-doping prosecutor received further elements which could be used to open disciplinary proceedings against implicated riders, even if they were not Italian.
"I do not anything about it," said Valverde. "That is something that concerns my lawyers; they have to take a position on the matter. I do not understand anything; No judge has accused me anything. The only thing that worries me is to train."
Instead of worrying about what could possibly come of CONI's further investigations, the 29 year-old is focused on a strong ride at July's Tour de France. "This Tour is better for me that the last one; so that will be my main goal for 2008," said the Caisse d'Epargne rider. "I have gained experience and that is very important for me. I know that there are many other candidates, such as [Alberto] Contador or [Cadel] Evans, the same as in 2007. The Vuelta is also good for me. I will have a very intensive calendar in the middle half of the season, so I will be calm at the beginning."
Valverde is believed to be happy with his new team-mates at the Spanish squad and also with the new Pinarellos the outfit will use in 2008. "We have gained in quality," he said. "I had been testing the new bike since the last year and I can assure that it is a great one."
Another important element of the Spaniard's life has been his wife and two children. Valverde says his family is what helps him through the difficult times of his career. "That has been wonderful for us," he said. "My family is the most important thing for me. Now, more than ever, I have to be closed to them. They gave me support in the bad moments".
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