Italian prosecutor demands two-year ban for Valverde

Puerto DNA match could stop Spaniard racing in Italy

Italian National Olympic Committee (Coni) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri on Wednesday called for Alejandro Valverde, embroiled in a Spanish blood doping probe, to be suspended for two years.

Last month, Spaniard Valverde, nicknamed The Green Bullet, told an Italian anti-doping hearing he had not done anything wrong and was not in any way mixed up in Spain's Operation Puerto scandal.

According to Torri, blood samples from Valverde emanating from a doping control during last year's Tour de France during a stage in Italy matched DNA samples from suspect blood bags discovered in the Spanish investigation, which dates from 2006.

Torri said in February after interviewing the racer that "we can say with certainty blood sachet number 18 is Valverde's".

A Coni statement Wednesday read: "Coni's anti-doping prosecutore has asked for the athlete Alejandro Valverde Belmonte to be brought before Coni's national anti-doping tribunal for violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency's code ... with the request he receive a two-year suspension."

The Italians allege Valverde, 28 and a top rider in his country who has won a dozen races including a second Liege-Bastogne-Liege success last year, has violated article 2.2 of the WADA code on taking banned substances.

© AFP 2009

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