Italian authorities confirm Valverde's blood was in bag 18

Alejandro Valverde Pinarello Prince

Italian authorities have confirmed that Alejandro Valverde's blood was stored in bag number 18 in the Spanish laboratory of Dr Efuemiano Fuentes, and that this was the reason they banned him for two years.

Valverde has always denied he was involved with Operacion Puerto, but his team insisted on seeing the evidence used by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) to sanction him, evidence that proves his blood was stored in Madrid.

The Union Cycliste International have also been provided with the evidence. Their lawyers will now assess the contents of the report before deciding whether or not to extend the two-year ban world wide.

The Spanish cycling authorities have never attempted to follow up the Valverde case that has now dragged on for almost three years.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, two paragraphs in the 24-page document refer to the crucial DNA test carried out by scientists from the Italian police force on a blood sample provided by Valverde after stage 15 of the 2008 Tour de France.

This DNA was compared to a sample taken from the infamous blood bag Number 18, seized during the Operation Puerto anti-doping raids in Spain in 2006.

According to El Pais, those two paragraphs confirm the DNA from the two samples match.

The rest of the document is said to deal with the question of whether a foreign athlete can be suspended by the Italian authorities.

The Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal (TNA) had a maximum of a month to provide the documents outlining the reasons for the two-years' suspension. And almost a month to the day after the verdict, they finally were sent to Spain and the UCI headquarter in Switzerland.

Valverde, meanwhile continues to race. After winning the Tour of Catalunya in May, he is currently taking part in the Dauphine Libere.

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