Danielson loses Vuelta a Burgos to escaped felon Valverde.

Valverde: guilty but unpunished.

Valverde: guilty but unpunished.

Why is Alejandro Valverde still pedaling?

The man was implicated in Operacion Puerto over three years ago!  The Italian Olympic committee (CONI) says they have ‘clear evidence” that the DNA analysis shows that Valverde’s blood was stored by the infamous Eufemiano Fuentes who was at the center of the drug raid. Blood bags labeled “valv. piti” (Valverde’s dog is named Piti) were seized and CONI has banned him from racing in Italy for two years.

The organizers of the Tour de France (ASO) barred him from participating in this year’s Tour. Anyone with ethics and backbone doesn’t want him near their start line. And yet… the man continues to race, proclaiming innocence and persecution.

Was there ever a man so obviously guilty who continues to shame and embarrass the sport and mock any attempts to clean it up? What is the UCI and WADA doping besides endless bureaucratic statements? Professional blowhard Dennis McQuaid of the UCI does nothing but talk big and act small. And perhaps most important, does the Spanish Cycling Federation have no shame or integrity? Why is this man still pedaling?

This is the kind of case that simply defies logic and legal action and enforcement. Each time Valverde wins a race or slinks onto a podium, it gives another black eye to a sport desperately trying to detoxify itself. You would have to hire a gaggle of legal clerks and give them a year before they could come up with a more botched, convoluted and lame prosecution effort. Valverde is the poster child for everything wrong with cycling: the pathetic turf wars between federations, anti-doping agencies and governing bodies. Why? Why is this man still pedaling?

The latest nonsense out of the UCI is that they are waiting. Yes, waiting, for someone else to make a decision — that’s the kind of leadership you  get with the UCI. They’re hoping that the Court for Arbitration in Sports (CAS) will make a ruling before the Vuelta a Espana. If not, Valverde will aim to win the three week Spanish grand tour — an incredible embarrassment for everyone involved except Alejandro and his faithful dog Piti.

Our hats off to Tom Danielson of team Garmin for his third place finish in the Vuelta a Burgos. Once tabbed as the next superstar and Armstrong-To-Be, Danielson has had a tough few years. After winning yesterdays’ stage, he lost his slim lead over Valverde on the last climb of the final day. Which brings us yet again to our pressing question: Why is this man still pedaling?

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