No Tour for Valverde

Caisse d'Epargne team made decision

Controversial Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde will not take part in this year's Tour de France, his Caisse d'Epargne team announced on Tuesday.

His absence removes a potentially embarrassing stand-off as the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) last month banned Valverde from racing in Italy for two years due to his alleged involvement in the 2006 Operation Puerto blood doping scandal.

That ostensibly ruled him out of the race in any case, as this year it passes through Italy's Val D'Aosta region on July 21.

However, Valverde called on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this month to "exonerate him of any sanction and to terminate this matter" and "state that CONI had no jurisdiction."

Lausanne-based CAS said it would be consulting the different parties involved before it sets out a calendar for the procedure "as soon as possible".

Normally an arbitration court panel takes about four months to issue a ruling, but it can accelerate the process in special circumstances.

© 2009 AFP & BikeRadar

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