Despite Alejandro Valverde’s success at debut race, after a two-year doping ban, his team will need to find success elsewhere, if they hope to secure WorldTour status next year.
Last year the UCI decided that any rider coming back from a doping ban could not contribute towards the team’s ranking points. A quirk in the rule allows riders to accumulate points and Valverde’s second place, in Australia, puts him 19 points behind Simon Gerrans. When deciding on whether a team should have WorldTour status, the UCI look at a number or different things including their ethical merits.
Valverde was handed his ban after a long drawn out case, which came as a result of the 2006 Operacion Puerto. Italy took the first step and banned him in May 2009 and a year later he was given a backdated two-year ban, from all competition. Despite his time out, it looks like El Bala could be Movistar’s best chance of a big victory this year. It won’t just be this year’s points that won’t count; the points ban will carry on throughout 2013.