Just 24 hours before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland decides if Spain?s Alejandro Valverde’s can take part in the World Championships, the judge responsible for Operacion Puerto has cleared the Spaniard of any implication.
According to Tuesday’s edition of Spanish sports newspaper Marca, Judge Antonio Serrano – who had previously declared that all evidence from Puerto, including blood bags, cannot be used for sporting sanctions – has issued a legal certificate stating that Valverde is not implicated in Puerto.
Serrano’s statement clashes directly against that of the UCI’s two lawyers, who have asked the Spanish Cycling Federation [SCF] to open a case against Valverde based on Puerto evidence. The SCF refused, saying if they used any evidence they would be breaking the law – based on Serrano’s previous declaration – and that Valverde was innocent until proven guilty. The UCI have said their request to open a case against Valverde means he cannot take part in the World Championships.
Given Serrano’s position in Operacion Puerto,, his certificate may well carry much more weight with the Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sport than the Spanish Federation’s simple refusal to go down the UCI road. According to Marca, the certificate will be presented on Wednesday in Lausanne together with a Spanish police document also confirming that Valverde does not appear in the Puerto documents.
In the power struggle between the UCI and the Spainsh Cycling Federation, the UCI have received the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency – rarely an ally of cycling’s governing body – in their case against Valverde. At the same time, UCI president Pat McQuaid has said, according to agency reports, that ?the biggest problem we have in doping and cycling comes from Spain.? McQuaid argued that Spanish Minister of Sport Jaime Lissavetzky’s continued support of Valverde was ?indicative? of Spain’s position on doping. “It is all very well bringing in laws, but you need to bring action after that.? McQuaid told the Associated Press news agency.
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Official 2007 Road World Championships website: www.radwm2007.com.
Union Cycliste Internationale: www.uci.ch.