Alejandro “borrowed time” Valverde was late but by golly he finally got there. Chapeau, a dirty one. The tarnished Spanish star came to the predictable and inevitable reaction concerning his involvement in the long and sordid Operacion Puerto doping investigation.
Inevitable because doped riders with huge egos all get there eventually. When the noose tightens sufficiently, when the evidence becomes irrefutable, when their money runs out, when their lawyers have no more tricks, when the end is near, they all arrive at the final stage. Like Pantani, Virenque, Rumsas, Mayo, Di Luca, Schumacher, Vinokourov and Landis, Mr. Valverde finished with an angry howl and predictable claim. He’s the victim of a conspiracy.
Valverde accused the presidents of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) of having “an institutional and personal viciousness” against him. That’s right, this isn’t a matter of evidence and legal procedure, it’s an ugly conspiracy to destroy his career. Valverde offered no reasons why these institutions are out to crush him — it’s a conspiracy theory, no supporting facts required.
The Vuelta champion and recent Tour of Romandie winner insisted that he’s clean. His quote was a classic sideways statement that doesn’t say he never doped, simply that he was never caught doping. “No banned substance has ever been detected in my body and my biological profile is flawless,” said Valverde.
Next up, Valverde is considering suing UCI president Patrick McQuaid and CONI head Gianni Petrucci for harming his image. (There’s an irony) In the meantime, he’ll attempt to flesh out his conspiracy theory — but ask Di Luca about that difficulty.