Caisse d'Epargne is reportedly holding Alejandro Valverde out of racing, pending the outcome of various trials and legal procedures. The Spaniard has not raced since Paris-Nice, in which he finished second overall. Only two days later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld his two-year ban in Italy.
The UCI subsequently announced that it would seek to extend the ban to world-wide. In addition, Valverde said that he would appeal the CAS decision in the Swiss court system.
There is also a second CAS case pending against Valverde. In that procedure, the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency appealed the Spanish Cycling Federation's decision not to sanction Valverde for his involvement in Operación Puerto. A hearing was recently held in that case, with a decision possibly being announced shortly.
His next planned race was to be the GP Miguel Indurain on April 4, but according to the Diario de Navarro, a Spanish newspaper, his participation there is in doubt until the last minute, pending a decision in one or all of these cases.
“We must be prudent. We are waiting for what happens with these outstanding issues, and then decide what to race, but he is training as if he will race,” the newspaper quotes the team as saying.
Valverde was apparently never scheduled to ride Volta a Catalunya, which is running this week. His next races are to be the GP Indurain, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After a break, he is scheduled to ride the Dauphine Libéré and then the Tour de France.
The Spanish rider was banned in Italy by the Italian Olympic Committee in May 2009, after a DNA comparison of blood taken during the 2008 Tour de France (which travelled into Italy) with blood bags seized by Spanish police during Operación Puerto.