Madrid's provincial court has ruled that the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) was within its rights when, in 2008, it obtained bags of plasma that linked Alejandro Valverde to the Puerto investigation. This ruling follows a similar assessment by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March.
The Madrid court that was overseeing the Puerto case had previously ruled that the CONI's actions were "fraudulent". This was primarily because the magistrate overseeing the Puerto case, Antonio Serrano, was on holiday in December 2008 when CONI requested the plasma bags be sent to them for analysis. That court subsequently ruled that any verdict based on this action would be invalid.
The Madrid provincial court overturned that decision, saying that the CONI's right to assess the Puerto evidence should have been given "wider interpretation". The court added that the CONI "had a legitimate interest" in being involved in the proceedings "as an organisation that has an ultimate say in the direction, control and regulation of cycling under all its forms in both national and international areas".
The ruling effectively supports the action taken by CONI in banning Valverde from competing on Italian soil until 2011. The organisation has been pushing for that ban to be extended to the rest of the world.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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