Although yet to be officially confirmed, leading World Championships’s road-race favourite Alejandro Valverde and the Spanish selection for the World Championships are expected to cancel their reservation in an Italian hotel and stay in Switzerland instead.
Barred from racing in Italy for two years because of his alleged connections to the anti-doping investigation Operacion Puerto, legally there is nothing to stop the Spaniard, recently the winner of the Tour of Spain, from visiting the country.
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For that reason, the Spanish selection opted to stay in an Italian hotel near to Mendrisio during the World Championships, going across the border for each event.
The logic behind this was apparently the price of hotels in Italy, and the fact the Spanish had made the reservation in January, well before Valverde’s ban in Italy came into force on May 11th.
Spain’s time trial and U-23 riders have stayed in the Italian hotel. But reports in the media, confirmed unofficially to Cycling Weekly, have claimed that in order to avoid any possible controversies with Valverde, Spain’s road-race team will now be staying in Switzerland.
Valverde’s participation was already the subject of some criticism from the UCI ProTour President, Vittorio Adorni, who claimed the Spaniard should not be allowed to take part in the road-race at all.
The UCI has already tried to get Valverde barred from taking part in Stuttgart in 2007, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport said he should race. However, Valverde could not race in the Tour de France this year because it partly went through Italy.
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