Drug cheat's ceremony halted
Alejandro Valverde (File)
Madrid - Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde's proposed unveiling by former team Movistar on Tuesday has been called off after the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI) stepped in.
The UCI told AFP that as the 31-year-old - winner of the 2009 Tour of Spain - had not come to the end of his two-year ban for his role in the Puerto doping scandal he could not particpate in an official ceremony.
His ban - imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in May 2010 - is due to come to an end in January 2012.
"We reminded Mr Valverde that he was still not qualified to race and as a consequence he was forbidden from all official activity such as a presentation or training with a team," a spokesperson said.
Movistar, who Valverde raced for in their previous life as Caisse d'Epargne, said they had acceded to the UCI's wishes but disagreed with them.
"The International Cycling Union will not allow the presence of the rider (Valverde) during the presentation ceremony because of an international rule which we profundly disagree with," the team said in a statement.
"However, we are obliged to respect the rule."
Movistar did not give a new date for the rescheduled unveiling ceremony.
Valverde has maintained close links with his former employers, so much so that it was revealed earlier this year that he had been training with his old team-mates.
Valverde, winner of several classics including the Liege-Bastogne-Liege twice, said that it was vital to keep fit so he was well prepared for his competitive return.
"What counts is not to lose one's rhythm and to be in the best possible shape when I return to competition," he said on several occasions.