World Championships: Valverde allowed to start, confusion about Bettini

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27.09.2007/ Alejandro Valverde will be allowed to start at the world championships road race on Sunday. German tv station ZDF reported Defending champion Paolo Bettini was accused by Patrick Sinkewitz to have supplied him with testosteron but Sinkewitz lawyer Michael Lehner said Sinkewitz did never said that.

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Defending champ Paolo Bettini (picture: Cyclingheroes)

Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde will be allowed to participate in the world championships in Stuttgart (Germany) after a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday, UCI president Pat McQuaid said.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) had attempted to ban Valverde from the world championships, a two-time silver medallist in the elite men's race, from the world's based on the UCI's belief that he is implicated in the 'Operation Puerto' doping affair.

The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) stood by the 2006 winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, who made a last gasp appeal to CAS in a bid to compete in Sunday's road race. The responsible judge who investigated the 'operacion Puerto', Antonio Serrano said Valverde is not involved in the doping scandal. The Spanish cycling star was also supported by  the Spanish minister of sports, Jaime Lissavetzky.Valverde himself has always denied being involved in the Spanish doping affair.


According to German tv station ZDF Olympic and world cycling champion Paolo Bettini supplied Patrik Sinkewitz with testosterone.

Sinkewitz, 26, was sacked by the T-Mobile team during this year's Tour de France when abnormal levels of testosterone were found in a pre-race drugs test. Sinkewitz later admitted he had used 'Testogel' patches to help aid recovery.

Sinkewitz is working together wit civil- and sports authorities as a crown witness. According to ZDF the German rider is quoted in a document as naming 2004 Olympic road champion and defending world road champion Bettini, plus retired Italian Davide Bramati, as his suppliers.

"I got the Testogel from Italian riders and I can also name them, they were Davide Bramati and Bettini," Sinkewitz is quoted as saying.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, Sinkewitz denied ever having named Bettini. German reporters said that Sinkewitz lawyer, Michael Lehner also denied that Sinkewitz named Bettini.

Told of the accusations in the ZDF report, Bettini told reporters on Wednesday that he immediately called Sinkewitz to quiz him.

Bettini said he told his former team-mate over the telephone: "If as you say you didn't say what has been reported then issue a denial immediately. If you have said what has been reported then you will have to be held responsible."

Sinkewitz and Bettini were team-mates at professional teams Mapei and Quick-Step, before the German signed with T-mobile in 2005. He wants to help doping investigators as a crown witness in order to reduce his ban, which is expected to be two years with a possible reduction to one year.

Paolo Bettini also didn't sign the so-called riders agreement. Bettini did sign two different version of the document but did not want to sign the clause which demands a fine of a salary of one year if he will be caught with banned substances. However some reports say that the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) communicated that Bettini will sign the agreement before Sunday's road race. UCI president Pat McQuaid told ZDF that Bettini will be allowed to start at the world championships as the UCI does not have the right to ban Bettini if he doesn't sign the agreement.

German minister freezes world championship subsidy

Germany's Interior minister Wolfgang Schäubele of the conservative CDU, reacted angrily to suspicions of continued doping in cycling by freezing a substantial subsidy to the organisers of the world road race cycling championships Wednesday. The action is remarkable as Schäubele supported the use of steroids by German athletes during a debate in the German Bundestag in the seventies.

"it was clear from the start that they would provide a chance for a fresh start for this sport," Schäuble said in a statement on Wednesday. "When a rider refuses to sign a pledge which aims for a new, cleaner cycling and then he manages to participate in the event then the credibility of the sport's fight against doping is destroyed."

"When it is the world championships themselves that refuse to embrace this fresh start, then they have to assume the consequences."

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