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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Flash, February 11, 2009

Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy

By Gregor Brown

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, 28, summonsed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI)
Photo ©: Franklin Tello
(Click for larger image)

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) summonsed Spanish Champion Alejandro Valverde to appear in Rome for possible ties to the 2006 doping investigation Operación Puerto. The CONI anti-doping prosecutor requested the Caisse d'Epargne rider, winner of two stages in the 2008 Tour de France, to appear February 16 at 12:00.

The Italian Olympic Committee reportedly has linked DNA samples taken from last year's Tour de France – presumably the stage into Italy, July 20 – to blood seized in the Operación Puerto investigation. In May 2006, Spain's Guardia Civil collected coded blood bags during its raid on the offices of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. (Read EPO blood bags attributed to code names.)

Internal documents from Madrid's Court 31 allegedly link Valverde to confiscated blood via codes Valv, Piti and 18. Despite attempts in the past years, authorities have not been able to prove links or stop Valverde from racing.

Valverde started his 2009 season this week in the Challenge Mallorca. His palmarès includes victories in two editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the 2006 Flèche Wallonne and the International Cycling Union's (UCI) ProTour classification in 2006 and 2008.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

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