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Valverde wants to return to the top in 2012

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) hoists the Tour of Romandie winner's trophy aloft

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) hoists the Tour of Romandie winner's trophy aloft (Image credit: AFP)

Alejandro Valverde is still coming to terms with the fact that he will not be in the peloton in 2011, but is aiming to get back to the top of the sport when his ban ends in 2012.

In an interview with the Spanish magazine Meta2Mil, Valverde revealed he has been training as if he were still racing, "because if you go a year without racing it is difficult to return to the front.  My weight was 61 kilos, now I'm 63.5, so I'm fine," he said.

Valverde was the world's number one ranked rider when he was suspended after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency, who had argued that evidence of Valverde's involvement in Operación Puerto was sufficient to warrant a suspension for an anti-doping rule violation.

He said that his two-year suspension was grossly unfair. "[UCI president] Pat McQuaid has said that cases like mine should be punished with a four year suspension. I'm bothered by this comment because it is a tremendous injustice. I'm the only cyclist sanctioned because of Operation Puerto whose name does not appear in the Operación Puerto report carried out by investigators, " he said.

He told Meta2Mil that he had no doubts he would be able to get back to being the world's top rider once his ban ends. "The break is going to cost me, and I will require some adaptation in the early months of 2012, but after the first three or four months, we will see the best of Alejandro Valverde."

Valverde raced for six seasons for the team of Eusebio Unzue, and said he would be grateful to return to the new Team Movistar, but said he would see what offers would come.

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