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Klöden out, Valverde in GP Plouay

Valverde didn't intend to race the Vuelta, although he attended the route launch

Valverde didn't intend to race the Vuelta, although he attended the route launch (Image credit: AFP)

The embattled Spanish star Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) will take the start of the GP Ouest France Plouay after all, according to the organiser Jean-Yves Tranvaux. The organiser had announced Valverde's non-participation on Thursday, but the situation with Valverde and the UCI's controversial decision to open an investigation into his alleged involvement in the Operación Puerto doping scandal changes by the hour.

"The manager of the Caisse d'Epargne team contacted me Thursday to announce to me that they were withdrawing Valverde from their roster," Jean-Yves Tranvaux explained to AFP. "They called me again today [Friday] to tell me they had changed their minds. As long as the International Union Cyclist (UCI) lets him ride, I do not have the right to refuse it. Alejandro Valverde will therefore be at the start on Sunday."

The UCI announced on Wednesday that it would bar Valverde from the World Championships in Stuttgart, and asked the Spanish Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider over alleged doping. The UCI claimed to have more closely examined the 6,000 page dossier on the case, and found sufficient information to warrant the ban.

The Spanish Federation has indicated it would look into the matter, it has not yet opened formal proceedings. Meanwhile, strong objections have come from the Spanish national team coach Francisco Antequera, who questioned the timing of the action.

Meanwhile Andreas Klöden, who was injured in a training accident on Thursday has decided not to start the race, his team announced Friday.