Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during Fleche Wallonne 2016 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2016
  • jules

    Valverde is a guy I really want to like and have to keep reminding myself he was caught doping. I’d love to know he was riding clean after his ban – how cool would that be? But how can I believe that with any confidence?

  • Lach

    Nice to see a brotherhood-esque relationship with Nairo.

  • Samuel Clemens

    HAHA rip snorter, coffee actually came out my nose with this one. Yeah Valverde, you’re MUUUUCH stronger off the juice than when you were on it, right. Wait for the blood bag ID parade…

    • jules

      in fairness, his competition is less doped now. so it’s possible to be stronger in relative terms. that’s a generous explanation though :)

      • Nomad

        I think the term “less doped” is hard to define. IMO, whether it’s controlled doping, micro-doping, selective doping, recovery doping, some athletes will adapt & respond better than others creating an “unlevel” playing field rather quickly.

        Remember when the EPO test was developed & implemented in 2000? The experts were quick to say that the test would virtually eliminate oxygen-vector doping and essentially create a “level playing field,” unlike that of the 90s when riders were doping with impunity.

        Well…what we saw in the peloton was the transition and adaptation to “old-fashion” blood doping. And this old form of doping was very beneficial for some riders, particularly for one certain rider named “Armstrong.”

        And passing drug tests doesn’t prove an athlete is clean. LA proudly bragged that he passed hundreds of drug tests and many fans (myself included) fell for it. What many of us failed to understand at that time, is that with blood doping an athlete will never fail a drug test.

    • Cycling Fan

      What on earth are you on about? He was banned because of the blood bags already so he has already been caught and as for wether he is stronger or not have you ever even looked at his palmares? consistent right throughout his career – not saying he’s clean I have no idea tbh but please at least put some thought behind your argument or just say “I don’t like or trust the guy” no-ones going to have a problem with that it’s entirely your choice

      • Samuel Clemens

        Everyone is entitled to a laugh, you just gave me another.

  • Pete

    Not specifically about Valverde, but in regards to doping: Isn’t there research indicating that people can benefit from certain types of doping for much longer (perhaps even permanently) than the corresponding ban?

    • jules

      there is. one study showed that all but 3 Tour winners have kept their title, long after their ban expired.

      • Pete

        nice one, but I was more thinking along the lines of erythropoietin hyporesponsiveness for example. Long lasting effects are an interesting topic I think. It implies that you could potentially dope for a while, not compete, wait out the blood passport times, then benefit into your competing era “clean”.

        • Nomad

          The only study I’m aware of on that aspect is one involving a mouse study with anabolic steriods. However, the researchers pointed out that the study was suggestive, but far from conclusive for humans…as more research would need to be done with athletes.

          And if you’re curious on how today’s athletes are beating drug tests and circumventing the ABP, this might be of interest:

          “How cheats cheat: why dopers have the edge in athletes’ war on drugs.” (theguardian/2015):

          https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/20/doping-world-athletics-championships-cheats

        • jules

          I’m skeptical of this. After Wiggo won his Olympic gold medal in 2004, he claims in his autobiography to have spent about a year in his local pub drinking pints. Lance Armstrong came back from cancer that had riddled his body and aggressive chemo that basically nukes your body to win* 7 Tours.

          my point being – the human body is very adaptable. when I hear “oh you still get benefits from taking a bit of EPO years ago” but that stage 10 cancer or whatever it was didn’t stop Lance winning – my BS radar pricks up.

  • 900Aero

    Yeah but nah…..
    I’d heard before that he’s been very cool to Quintana, made him welcome in the team and that shows a nice touch.

  • Patrick Murphy

    For me personally I can forgive the doping of the past by Valverde, it was a different era, the pressure to dope back then must have been pretty immense. The culture we have now is that you can win clean and I believe he’s clean so I can cheer him on when he races. And like Contador he is a great racer and good to watch.

  • Howie

    For one reason or another, i just don’t like him. But there has to be villains from every point of view i suppose.

  • Saganfan23

    Can’t believe most of the comments here are believing in a sanctioned doper being clean. Naive. Do you remember what sport this is and how easy it is to dope and still get away with it?

  • roadfurniture

    I love the way this dude rides- smart, aggressive. Just hard to get over the past. I sure as hell hope he’s clean now.

  • Stretch

    Good article – thanks!

  • AMK3072

    ‘I THINK NOBODY DOUBTS MY PERFORMANCES ANYMORE’

    I’m sure I am not alone in not agreeing with this statement.

    • Wookie

      Disagree. I’m sure almost EVERYONE doubts his performances. IMHO. I”ve mentioned previously that I feel Valverde should be viewed with suspicion due to his IMMEDIATE return to the winners list , upon resuming racing… Just MHO.

      • AMK3072

        Er, I said I don’t agree with this statement from Valverde and that I suspect (and you’ve proven) that to be correct.

  • Nomad

    What I got from the interview was that Valverde doesn’t want to talk about his involvement in Puerto, thinks his ban may have been unfair and that “nobody doubts his performances anymore”…no surprises there.

    My question is if Valverde believes he’s so talented why did he affiliate with Puerto and engage in the dubious PED program that Fuentes was promoting? And during that time how did he manage to pass numerous “antidoping” tests, and was he on a year-round program?

    Also, a former Kelme teammate and Puerto participant, Jesus Mazano, says Valverde was using PEDs as early as 2002: “Mazano slams Valverde, Aldag.” (Cyclingnews/2007):

    http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2007/jun07/jun21news

    So, IMO, if he’s clean now, great…more power to him. But I think he’s a little over confident that “nobody” would doubt any of his performances anymore; considering his affiliation with Puerto and the fact that he’s an aging athlete with high GT placings and year-round success.

  • Andy B

    His versatility shows he is a pretty special rider either way

  • ridein

    Valverde has made himself much more available to the press in 2016. I believe it is his intention to attempt to clean up his reputation before his retirement.

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