In July 2006 Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich travelled home from the Tour de France in disgrace. They weren?t the only two, but they were the highest profile riders implicated in Dr Eufamiano Fuentes?s blood-doping ring.

Eventually Basso served a suspension (although not before Johan Bruyneel signed him, let?s not forget). Ullrich retired.

Alejandro Valverde, also heavily implicated, rode on. And on. And on. He was alleged to be Valv.Piti. He quietly denied it.

He rode for Kelme, where Fuentes worked as the doctor.

Louder the allegations got, but still no action was taken. Not by the Spanish authorities, not by the police. Like the other Spanish sports people allegedly on Dr Fuentes?s client list, Valverde seemed to be untouchable. How nice for him.

So he raced on, and he kept winning some of the biggest races in the world. In 2007 the Germans took exception to Valverde riding the World Championships in Stuttgart and the UCI nearly stepped in to prevent him. But they didn?t.

Valverde kept his head down that day, but he rode on.

Then he won a stage of the Tour de France, and took the yellow jersey, and everyone looked at each other in mild embarrassment, and were slightly relieved when he lost it again. We even asked if his victory was a good thing for the race.

And Valverde looked as if he?d get away with it, until CONI decided to take action. The Italians say they can match Valverde to the blood taken at the Tour de France during its brief stop over in Italy to that in bag number 18 seized in the Operacion Puerto raids in 2006.

The UCI?s top brass keep saying how firmly in control of the doping situation they are. Well, take a look at all Valverde?s results since early July 2006 (below) and see how much control the governing body has over the sport.

If CONI?s case stands, then none of these results should. They meant nothing because Valverde should have been on the sidelines for 24 months, at least.

2006

stage win, Vuelta a Espana

Led the Vuelta a Espana overall for eight days

2nd overall, Vuelta a Espana

3rd World Road Race Championships, Salzburg

2007

1st overall, Tour of Valencia

stage win, Tour of Murcia

1st overall, Tour of Murcia

3rd overall, Criterium International

3rd GP Miguel Indurain

5th Tour of the Basque Country

2nd Klasika Primavera

6th Amstel Gold Race

2nd Fleche Wallonne

2nd Liege-Bastogne-Liege

stage win, Clasica Alcobendas

2nd Spanish national road race championship

6th overall, Tour de France

3rd San Sebastian Classic

stage win, Tour of Burgos

2nd overall, Tour of Burgos

2008

stage win, Tour of Murcia

1st overall, Tour of Murcia

2nd Klasika Primavera

1st Paris-Camembert

3rd Amstel Gold Race

1st Liege-Bastogne-Liege

stage win, Dauphine Libere

1st overall, Dauphine Libere

Spanish national road race champion

stage win, Tour de France

Led Tour de France overall for two days

8th overall Tour de France

1st San Sebastian Classic

stage win, Vuelta a Espana

Led Vuelta a Espana for a day

5th overall Vuelta a Espana

2009

two stage wins, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon

RELATED LINKS

Alejandro Valverde: Rider Profile

April 1, 2009: Valverde set to be banned from racing in Italy

March 25, 2009: Valverde wins stage 3 of Castilla y Leon

February 12, 2009: Valverde fights back over Puerto accusations

July 5, 2008: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour de France?

January 11, 2008: Valverde back in anti-doping spotlight (again)

September 25, 2007: Valverde cleared by Puerto judge

September 18, 2007: UCI says it has new information on Valverde

August 30, 2007: Valverde expected to hand over DNA sample

August 30, 2007: Valverde banned from Worlds

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