Zurich: Alejandro Valverde will miss the next two editions of the Tour de France after the Spaniard was given a two-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for violation of anti-doping rules.
CAS imposed the ban, backdated to start Jan. 1, after accepting evidence which linked the Tour of Spain champion to the Operation Puerto anti-doping investigation.
The decision followed an appeal launched by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) back in 2007 against the Spanish cycling federation`s failure to act against Valverde over findings from the investigation.
Valverde was unable to take part in last year`s Tour de France because it passed through Italy, where he is already serving a two-year ban over the same case.
"In its decision, the CAS Panel found, by a majority, that it could use the evidence collected in the course of Operation Puerto for the purpose of CAS arbitration," said a CAS statement.
"The CAS panel also found, by a majority, that the scientific evidence... was sufficient to conclude that Valverde committed an anti-doping rule violation, considering that Valverde`s blood contained EPO, a prohibited substance."
However, CAS said that his results before Jan. 1 would be allowed to stand.
"CAS considered that there was no evidence that any of the results obtained by Valverde prior to January 1, 2010, was through doping infraction and decided that the appellants` request to annul those results should be denied."