Valverde CAS Appeal Date Set
Alessandro Valverde appears to be in confident mood ahead of the start of the
2010 season, though there is a good chance that he will not be allowed to
compete next year.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday
it would hear two cases involving the reigning Spanish Vuelta champion on Jan.
12-14 and March 18-21. Press release at the bottom of the page
The Caisse d'Epargne leader yesterday announced his 2010 race programme, and
made it clear that a top finish in the Tour de France was his main priority.
First he will head to Australia for the Tour Down Under, to race against Lance
Armstrong and Cadel Evans.
Valverde marked Alberto Contador as the man that everyone will have to
beat at the 2010 Tour. "(Beating Contador) will be complicated. Contador could
falter at any moment; we'll need to stay strong throughout the race if we are to
exploit that moment."
"We have a great team, similar to last year's infrastructure, but with some
losses," he told Spanish daily Marca. "However, we have signed some great riders
and will be a strong team."
The Vuelta winners race programme will also include Tour Down Under,
Paris-Nice (March 7-14), Volta a Catalunya (March 22-28), Amstel Gold Race
(April 18), Flèche Wallonne (April 21) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25). He
will then defend his Dauphiné Libéré title, June 6-13.
At least, that's the plan. However, the CAS (Court for Arbitration in Sport)
has finally set a court date to decide whether Valverde's Italian ban will be
upheld. The date is January 12-14. The case focuses on the claim by Italian
authorities that his blood was among that seized from the Spanish labs
associated with the Puerto case. The Spanish authorities have supported Valverde
throughout, and refused to prosecute him, or indeed any of the Spanish athletes
implicated in the affair.
Yet even if Valverde wins this case, his troubles are not over, as there is a
second case to be decided by the CAS. The World Anti-doping Authority (WADA) and
International Cycling Union (UCI) have appealed the Spanish Cycling Federation's
decision not to pursue a case against Valverde in the Puerto affair. The date
for that hearing has been set as March 18-21. If it rules in favour of the WADA
and UCI, Valverde could face further investigation and the possibility of a
world-wide two-year ban. If found guilty, the Spaniard would in all likelihood
be stripped of his Vuelta win and the other victories garnered since the affair
Valverde said of the cases that "You learn to live with it and hopefully they
will be resolved as soon as possible. I can't doing anything but wait." The 2009
Vuelta winner may wish to have a word with his lawyers if that's the case, as
it's they who have the responsiblity for the legal wrangling that has seen the case
drag on so long.
Valverde need not fret though, for he is not the only one sick of waiting.
The director of legal affairs for WADA, Olivier Niggli, would also like to see
the cases brought to a close. "This case has lasted for two years; it is
extremely frustrating. I hope the CAS does not forget these costs when it
announces its decision," he said, suggesting perhaps that if found guilty,
Valverde may be made accountable financially.
The true victim of this whole affair is not Valverde nor the UCI, but the
sport itself, which appears to be locked into some Kafkaesque nightmare from
which it is struggling to escape. There was a time, even up until the late 90s,
when revelations of doping still had the power to shock. Those days are long
gone. Cycling fans now turn to the sports pages wearily in morbid anticipation
of the next doping ring to be uncovered, or new EPO variant to be revealed. One
can only hope that for the sake of the sport – and indeed, if innocent, for the
sake of Alessandro Valverde – that this case is cleared up as soon as possible.
CAS Announcement - Sets Date
12/15/2009 Lusanne, Switzerland
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has fixed the hearing dates for the two
arbitration procedures involving the Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde.
The hearing in the case between Valverde and CONI/UCI/WADA will take place
from 12 to 14 January 2010. In this case, Alejandro Valverde filed an appeal
following a decision taken by CONI to suspend him for two years from cycling in
Italy due to a violation of the CONI anti-doping rules. The athlete contests
this decision and requests its annulment. The first hearing date fixed for this
matter by the CAS for 16 November 2009 had to be cancelled following a request
from CONI to join the UCI and WADA as parties to the arbitration procedure.
Their participation was admitted by the CAS which lead to several deadlines
having to be re-fixed and to the postponement of the hearing.
The hearing concerning the case between UCI/WADA and Valverde/Spanish Cycling
Federation will take place from 18 to 21 March 2010. In this matter, the UCI and
WADA contest the decision taken by the Spanish Cycling Federation to not open a
disciplinary procedure against Alejandro Valverde. The CAS had organised for the
hearing to take place at the end of November 2009. However, at the request of
the parties, the hearing was postponed in order for it to be able to take place
over a minimum of three consecutive days.