Alejandro Valverde will be making his comeback in Movistar colors on Wednesday with an official roll-out at the telecommunication giant’s sprawling campus north of Madrid.
The UCI put the kibosh on a similar press event last month, insisting that Valverde was still serving his racing ban, which ended December 31. Team officials will also introduce Vuelta a España champion Juanjo Cobo as the squad’s final signing for the 2012 season.
Valverde will return to competition at the Tour Down Under (Jan. 15-22) later this month in what will be his first race since May 2010 at the Tour de Romandie. He was later banned and race results from 2010 were erased for links to the Operación Puerto doping scandal dating back to 2006.
Though Valverde continues to deny wrong-doing, there was enough evidence for the UCI to confirm a racing ban.
Movistar signed Valverde to a two-year deal that will keep him with the Spanish outfit through the 2013 season.
Team boss Eusebio Unzué said that Valverde’s return, coupled with Cobo’s arrival, will give Spain’s best-funded team a deeper base for the grand tours.
“With Alejandro’s return, it will give us the guarantee for results that we didn’t have during 2011,” Unzué said. “We are confident that Valverde can return to his former level. He will ride the spring classics and aim for a strong showing in the Tour.”
Valverde raced the Tour Down Under in 2010, riding to ninth overall in the GC. Later, he’s expected to race the Mallorca Challenge in February and prepare for a return to the spring classics with a likely appearance at Paris-Nice.