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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Caisse d'Epargne team calls Spaniard's behaviour "irreproachable"
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) may have ruled to give Alejandro Valverde a two-year ban based on evidence from the Operación Puerto case, but the Spaniard has refused to go down without a fight.
Valverde's press agent issued a statement vowing to take the matter to the Swiss Supreme Court. The rider appealed the CAS approval of a previous ban in Italy to the Swiss court, but it was turned back on a technicality.
The CAS released its decision Monday on a case brought by the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency against the Spanish Cycling Federation for failing to pursue disciplinary action against Valverde. It issued a two-year suspension to begin January 1, 2010.
The court stated that it has agreed that the DNA tests linking Valverde to blood evidence from the case was enough to justify a ban for "use or attempted use by a rider of a prohibited substance or prohibited method". However, it refused the UCI's request to nullify all of Valverde's race results prior to the ban.
Valverde and his Caisse d'Epargne team each pointed out the confusing nature of the ruling. The court stated "that there was no evidence that any of the results obtained by Mr. Valverde prior to 1 January 2010 was through doping infraction" even though it agreed that he had committed a doping violation.
Abarca Sports, owner of Valverde's team, called the court's ruling "a confirmation of the position sustained permanently by Abarca Sports about the irreproachable behaviour of Valverde during his five and half years career with Abarca Sports."
Valverde's statement said the court agreed that "none of the victories were obtained through use of prohibited practices, which is confirmed because Alejandro Valverde, possibly the most controlled the athlete in the world, has never failed a doping test."