Time, at last, is up for Alejandro “borrowed time” Valverde.
The Swiss Court of Civil Rights denied Alejandro Valverde’s appeal of his two year ban from racing in Italy. Yes, justice isn’t swift but it is Swiss as they upheld the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to enforce the two-year ban.
Are we finally at the end of the four year Operacion Puerto saga? Have we at long last reached a resolution on Valverde’s global ban for blood doping. One never knows but it sure feels definite. Valverde and his legal team are fast running out of options and Pat McQuaid’s band of hesitant UCI lawyers are free to ban the Spanish rider now that other courts have done the hard, dirty work.
The current Vuelta champion managed to squeeze one last podium appearance in this weekend, taking third in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. La Doyenne was his denouement, swan song, the long goodbye, the final tapas.
It’s to his credit and incredible mental strength that considering the stress of his endless legal trials, Valverde won over 20 major ProTour events since his alleged involvement in Operacion Puerto. He’s even grown a new head of hair while waiting for the glacial wheels of justice to turn.
Here at Twisted Spoke we’ve had a special axe to grind about Valverde. He’s an immensely talented rider, his style of racing is exciting, fans appreciate his passion for attacking and according to many, he’s an approachable and friendly rider always available to chat with fans.
However, it’s been clear for years that the man was guilty, hypocritical and an embarrassment to cycling. It’s also an insult to every rider who finished behind him on the podium during his four year run while still under investigation.
Part of the sad aftermath of the Valverde ruling will be the debate about which titles to strip. There might be a lot of shiny hardware leaving the shelves at Valverde’s house. Less things to dust, UCI Spring cleaning.
Those decisions will be yet another mess, one created by the lack of a governing body capable of governing. There’s not great triumph in a verdict that comes at least three years late. It’s also an indictment of the nationalist Spanish Cycling Federation and the astonishing inability of the UCI to guide the sport.
Today we salute the man who told the truth all those years when nobody in Spain wanted to listen: former teammate Jesus Marzano. It’s the end of a long, ugly story and we hope Jesus gained a small measure of redemption today.
Time is up on the borrowed time.