Valverde returns. Bummer.

Valverde happy to be back.

The Green Bullet is back — not the Silver Coors Beer Bullet, the Spaniard, the last Operacion Puerto scofflaw, Alejandro Valverde. (One Spaniard returns, one perhaps headed for suspension with Contador and CAS.)

Did you miss Alejandro? Many folks will say, hey, sure he hit the secret sauce and is an unrepentant liar and a continuing black eye for cycling but … but, I like his attacking style.

Well, Hell, didn’t we all? Twisted Spoke also appreciated the attacking style of Marco Pantani, Alexandre Vinokourov and Riccardo Ricco. Who doesn’t love a rider who shows no fear in launching an attack whenever and wherever? Someone with the ability to supply the fireworks and explode a race?

Do you miss Alejandro? Are you welcoming him back with open arms?

We certainly do appreciate the aggressive racing tactics but we also guess that what we were applauding was the pharmaceutical. That attack we admired was just a matter of illegal juice and the immediate separation he gained on that gradient was nothing but a prohibited substance.

Valverde is back with his old team and the party line at Movistar and with Valverde himself is basically what an injustice it is that an honorable career was interrupted. We call bullshit.

Ask Bob Stapleton, the man at the head of HTC-Highroad, one of the most successful and admired squads in cycling, what he thinks of Valverde. The shit-mist of doping was one of the major reasons HTC-Highroad couldn’t find one solitary sponsor to enter the sport and support a top team.

Ask Jonathan Vaughters what he thinks of Valverde coming back to the sport and what stories that tells about professional cycling? Vaughters himself, running arguable the cleanest team in cycling, couldn’t close the deal with French company BigMat as a second title sponsor. Valverde isn’t the reason that deal fell through but no team has an easy job securing a financial backer when people like Valverde are back in the saddle.

Sure, the man has served his time and by rights is free to return to the peloton. No argument there whatsoever. It’s just that the dirt is still so visible and with no interest in reforming or making any anti-doping statement, Valverde is a painful symbol of cycling’s enduring image problems.

Management at Movistar has made not one mention of his doping offense. Valverde has made not one statement of contrition or shown the smallest desire to act as a force against doping. He is the anti-David Millar. He hasn’t cleaned up and sees no reason why he should.

No doubt we’ll see Alejandro Valverde at the front of some races this year. For all his bravado and attacking style, we’ll wish he wasn’t there.

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  • Set up a fund Valverde haters can donate to – the funds going towards 24/7 monitoring of this cheater. My guess is he'll join the ranks of guys who were great while doped, not so great afterward (presumed clean) sort of in the mold of Millar. We'll likely get to see the same with Dekker as he comes back.

    • I like a man who gets right on solutions. Valverde will do betetr than okay this year — there's no doubting the talent even off the secret sauce. I thing Dekker is going to surprise people — Garmin is the one team that can bring him back to the top if he really sticks to their program. He's a guy that Vaughters will take a personal interest in. Matt

  • Henkio

    We'll have a rider who Gilbert is afraid of again. How can you not be happy with that? 😛

    Apart from that, it's a different case than most other comebacks. Don't forget that Valverde was under 'investigation' for a long time while still being able to ride. So either he never gave up doping (while being tested every other day) or his results since Opercion Puerto were clean(ish). Given the fact that the UCI really wanted to nail Alejandro and have nothing on him since 2004/2005 I'd say he should be back to 2008 levels within a couple of months.

    • Henkio, I expect Valverde's comeback to be very successful in terms of results. For the rest, hard to say. Good to hear from you. Matt