Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde has lost the latest round of his lengthy attempt to overturn Italian anti-doping sanctions, according to a ruling published by the Swiss supreme court Friday. Valverde had asked the Swiss Federal Tribunal to overturn a decision by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport rejecting his appeal against a two year ban in 2009 from racing on Italian territory, on procedural grounds. “The current appeal must be rejected,” the ruling said as it dismissed one of Valverde’s major arguments as “unfounded.”
His lawyers had notably challenged the impartiality of one of the arbitrators and their access to some of the evidence from the Spanish “Operation Puerto” doping investigation. Valverde, winner of the 2009 Tour of Spain and one of the most feared racers in hilly one-day classics, had been banned from racing in Italy since May 2009.
Italian authorities took a blood sample from the Spaniard at the 2008 Tour de France when it passed through the country, and it matched one of the blood bags containing the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) from the 2006 Puerto raid. The CAS, world sport’s top court, in May 2010 also handed a two-year worldwide ban on Valverde. Valverde has filed a separate appeal against the worldwide ban.