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Valjavec resumes racing with Turkish team Manisaspor

Tadej Valjavec (AG2R) held onto his overall lead.

Tadej Valjavec (AG2R) held onto his overall lead. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Slovenia’s Tadej Valjavec will resume racing on Saturday in Croatia, he told Cyclingnews from his home in Pokljuka. “Next on my agenda is the Tour of Istria next week and I strongly hope that CAS will come up with a positive decision by the end of March,” said the 33-year old. He was suspended by the UCI for irregularities in his biological passport in May last year, but was later cleared by the Slovenian anti-doping agency, and is now awaiting the final decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He rode again in September for Ag2r-La Mondiale but his contract wasn’t renewed. “Now I’ve signed with the new Turkish team Manisaspor and if everything goes well, our big goal will be the Tour of Turkey (from April 24 to May 1),” Valjavec added.

Since the Presidential Tour of Turkey was upgraded to 2.1 in 2008 and now HC, Turkish cycling has taken a strong initiative to be structured at every level. More races are organised in the country and two continental teams have been created this year. Manisaspor has nine young Turkish riders, all under 24, and six foreign riders to help them learn the job, and the roster includes Valjavec’s compatriot Dean Podgornik, 31, and former Junior world champion Jeremy Yates from New Zealand.

Valjavec always denied doping accusations, as did Italians Franco Pellizotti and Pietro Caucchioli, both of whom were banned by CAS earlier this week for similar irregularities in their biological passports.