President of the Italian Cycling Federation, Renato Di Rocco, has described Alejandro Valverde's continued participation in events such as the Tour de Romandie, which he won on Sunday, as "scandalous"
According to Europa Press, Di Rocco added that he expects to see the Spaniard, who is currently banned from racing in Italy, to be sanctioned in line with his Italian suspension within the next few months.
Valverde was handed a two-year ban from competing in races on Italian soil after the nation's authorities declared a match was made between blood taken from the rider during the 2008 Tour de France and that seized from the clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes during the Operacion Puerto raids of 2006.
Consequently Valverde has not raced in Italy since and was forced to miss last year's Tour de France which ran through Italian territory, although he has continued to compete and win, something that bothers Di Rocco; his comments came after Valverde wrapped up the Tour de Romandie title in soggy Sion on Sunday (right).
"It is scandalous to continue seeing Valverde still race and win, [he] has to be suspended for some time. The UCI wants to do [it], but it takes a common position with the World Anti-Doping Agency," said Di Rocco.
President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Gianni Petrucci, agrees with Di Rocco's stance. "We cannot wait. It doesn't give a good impression of cycling to see an athlete who continues to compete after the sentence has been confirmed by all agencies, sporting and judicial," he said.
Meanwhile, Valverde is waiting for a decision on whether the Italian ban will be extended worldwide. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed his appeal against the sanction and the UCI has stated it wants to pursue an all-inclusive suspension.
The CAS rejected his appeal against the initial sanction so the reigning Vuelta a España champion then appealed that decision in the Swiss Court of Civil Rights, claiming that one of the arbitrators on the CAS panel, Ulrich Hess, was not neutral because he had worked for the World Anti-Doping Agency. Those claims were rejected and hence Valverde's continued non-participation in Italian races.
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