The number one ranked road cyclist 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 for violation of anti-doping rules.
The Court, which is backdated to start on January 1st, 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 and the International Cycling Union 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.
Operation Puerto was launched after raids in Madrid and Zaragoza, where police found large quantities of anabolic steroids, laboratory equipment used for blood transfusions and more than 200 bags of code-named blood, some of which were linked to leading cyclists.
Spain's Civil Guard listed more than 50 riders implicated in the affair.