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Valverde Evidence Legally Obtained Says Madrid Court Ruling

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D_mediumThe Zombie of stories has arisen to walk the earth again. Yes, it's time for more Valverde. Because we just haven't had enough of this story already.

When we last saw our Spanish hero, he was getting spanked by the sports arbitration court, who found in favor of the Italian anti-doping authorities. Yes, Valverde you're still banned in Italy. The UCI made reassuring noises to the effect that yes, now they would actually extend the Italian ban worldwide. Caisse d'Epargne also said they would withdraw Valverde from active racing, a decision that lasted all of an hour. Valverde's lawyers, scary!

Now today comes the news that a court in Madrid has ruled that the Italian anti-doping authorities obtained the evidence against Valverde legally. That's right, all the i's were dotted, the t's crossed. Now, you will recall that Valverde's legal team, quite dogged they are, all along have claimed that the Italian obtained the evidence illegally and consequently, the case had no merit. Valverde, they argued, should walk the earth - and ride his bike - free and clear.

The sports arbitration court pretty much totally demolished this claim in their decision to uphold the Italian sanction. They retraced the Italian procedures which passed through the office of the Procura in Roma, and they found no harm, no foul. They also ruled the effort of Judge Serrano to "nullify" the use of the evidence, on the grounds that once the evidence had passed to Italy, the Spanish judge no longer could control its use.

Still, the Valverde team disagreed, and this case before the Madrid court has sat simmering in the background. Now comes the decision that in fact, the Italians acted legally in their efforts to obtain the evidence and use it to sanction Valverde. The Mardid Court ruled that CONI had legal standing to use the evidence, in particular because its legal charter grants it authority to enforce the rules in cycling. CONI holds a "legitimate interest," according to today's decision. Take that Valverde lawyers! This ruling also overturns the effort of Judge Serrano to block the use of the evidence by the cycling authorities. Boo on you Judge Serrano!

This ruling should at long last open the way for the UCI to do something about this pesky bike racer, who continues to win races despite the Italian sanction. Now, with TAS approval! The UCI, with its controlling interest in regulating cycling, should also be able to sanction Valverde with the Puerto evidence. And what about you Spanish Federation? It appears that you, too, can play the sanction game. Perhaps we will now at last get a ruling from the sports arbitration court on the UCI v. RFEC case, in which the UCI has appealed to the court to force the Spanish Federation to apply a sanction on Valverde. Is this too much to hope for? Perhaps.

But today yet another legal obstacle to sanctioning Valverde has fallen. Your move, UCI?

—Source, El País.