Valverde hearing put back 48 hours

February 18 date set

Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde's Operation Puerto-related hearing with the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) has been put back 48 hours till next Wednesday, Coni said.

Coni said the change had been made at the Caisse D'Epargne rider's request.

The summons relates to a blood-urine sample given by Valverde on July 21 during the 2008 Tour de France after a stage in Italy.

Italian news agency Ansa reported that DNA tests on this sample matched those of blood samples seized from the laboratory of tainted doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the central figure in the Puerto scandal. Although the sample Valverde gave during the Tour did not fail any dope tests, it is for the DNA match to the Puerto samples that Valverde has been summoned.

Valverde is currently the subject of an open case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency after Spanish authorities washed their hands of the whole Puerto affair.

Valverde is a one-day specialist who is a twice Pro Tour champion, has three times finished on the podium at the World Championships and was second in the 2006 Tour of Spain.

© AFP 2009

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