The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) says it has matched Alejandro Valverde’s blood samples taken during the Italian section of last year’s Tour de France to blood bags recovered in Operacion Puerto in 2006.

Italian anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri has called for a two-year ban for Valverde. Torri said in February: “We can say with certainty blood sachet number 18 is Valverde’s”.

Valverde has denied any involvement at all with Operacion Puerto.

Despite more stringent doping controls in and out of competition, riders are still using banned substances and doping techniques. Yesterday, former Gerolsteiner professional Bernhard Kohl admitted to blood doping and using banned blood-bosting drug CERA, a form of EPO. Kohl is currently serving a two-year ban from competition after testing positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.

RELATED LINKS

Alejandro Valverde: Rider Profile

Comment: End this Valverde farce

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