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Valverde CAS Appeal Date Set
 
By Lee Rodgers
Date: 12/16/2009
Valverde CAS Appeal Date Set
 

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 began.

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.

 

 
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