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Valverde charged over cycling doping scandal

Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde has been charged with being involved in Spain's Operacion Puerto doping scandal, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said in a statement today.

CONI's anti-doping prosecutor has called for a two-year ban but any suspension agreed by an Italian anti-doping tribunal is likely to only take effect inside Italy.

CONI has alleged that blood samples Valverde gave at a doping control when last year's Tour de France entered Italy for a stage match DNA from code-named bags of blood discovered in the Spanish Puerto investigation, which was launched in 2006.

Valverde told an Italian anti-doping hearing in February that he was innocent of any wrongdoing but CONI has since been building its case and has now decided to charge the Spaniard, who topped the world rankings last season.

Valverde competed in the 2007 world championships despite the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), trying to block his participation because he had been linked to Puerto.