Valverde's Italian ban upheld by Court of Arbitration for Sport
ALEJANDRO Valverde has lost his appeal against a two-year doping ban from racing in Italy.
BAN UPHELD: Alejandro Valverde's two-year ban from competing in Italy is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and UCI admit they will pursue an international ban (Getty Images)
The Vuelta a Espana champion was banned from racing in Italy by CONI, Italy's national Olympic committee, in May 2009 after they claimed blood samples he gave in the 2008 Tour de France matched DNA bags of blood discovered in Spain's Puerto doping investigation.
Valverde appealed the ruling on the grounds that CONI had no legal right to use the evidence from the Spanish investigation but the Court of Arbitration for Sport have upheld the ban.
"The evidence analysed by the judicial authorities and used in the CONI proceedings was not only admissible but also relevant and could reasonably lead to the outcome determined by the CONI Anti-Doping Tribunal," said a CAS spokesman.
After prompting from CAS, world cycling governing body UCI have confirmed they will pursue an extention of the ban to all international competitions for the two years.
The Caisse d'Epagne rider was forced to miss last season's Tour de France because the race briefly passed through Italy.
But Valverde put his off-track problems behind him to win the Dauphine Libere, the Tour of Catalunya and the Tour of Burgos before his first Grand Tour victory in Spain last season.
The Spaniard has continued his run of form into 2010, finishing second in last week's Paris-Nice.
And with this year's Tour de France not crossing Italian borders, the 29-year old - should he be allowed to compete by UCI - will be one of the favourites to challenge defending champion Alberto Contador for the yellow jersey as the Tour enters Paris in late July.