According to a report at road.cc (Valverde loses Swiss appeal, considers taking case to European Court of Human Rights), Alejandro Valverde has failed in his bid to get his ban overturned. The ban was for his apparent involvement in the Fuentes blood doping ring. A blood sample taken while he was racing in Italy apparently matches DNA in one of the bags of blood found in Fuentes’ fridge, helpfully labelled ‘Valv. (Piti)’ – Piti supposedly being the name of Valverde’s pet pooch (names of pets seems to have been the code names used).
So, assuming the DNA work was done correctly, it would seem to be an open and shut case, and one wonders why Valverde will continue to take the case to ever higher courts. Of course doping athletes do seem to press on with delusional self-belief in their innocence beyond the evidence. Examples (not related to the Fuentes affair as far as I know) include Tyler Hamilton (and his vanishing twin), Floyd Landis, and the fabulous tale of Richard Virenque (who famously came clean and confessed in court). It’s a shame they don’t all take the rap for doping as openly as David Millar.
Still, I have some sympathy for Valverde. Why have so few athletes faced justice over the Fuentes affair? And I don’t just refer to cyclists. It doesn’t seem right for only a handful for Dr Fuentes’ clients get taken down, when all the others can just carry on.