By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alejandro Valverde's legal representative is prepared for the hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday, September 26, only four days before the World Championships where the Spanish cyclist hopes to compete. The International Cycling Union (UCI) claims Valverde is heavily linked to Operación Puerto, and, therefore, should not be allowed to start in its race. Yesterday, the UCI accepted the proposal from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), who backs its cyclist, for mediation by the CAS.
José Rodriguez, Valverde's Lawyer, confirmed to Cyclingnews that his client will not be required to be at the CAS hearing. "Alejandro Valverde plays a procedural role, which does not entail that he must be present.
"It is a very complicated subject," continued Rodriguez on the case. "This is why we do not want to be very optimistic, but neither pessimistic." He pointed out that the his defence documentation to be presented to the CAS "is very convincing and with a strong support."
The list of riders to compete in the World Championships was released by the UCI on Wednesday. Valverde's name did not appear "like we had hoped." Rodriguez noted that there are other riders that were presumably implicated in Puerto that are able to race the Worlds, and riders, like German Erik Zabel, who admitted to having used EPO (Erythropoietin) the 1990s.