Cycling News Flash, February 11, 2009
Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
By Gregor Brown
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
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