Valverde wins another Dauphine Libere

GRENOBLE, France -- Alejandro Valverde of Spain won the Dauphine Libere on Sunday for the second consecutive year.

Valverde ended the 640-mile, eight-day race in 26 hours, 33 minutes, 15 seconds, finishing 16 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans of Australia and 1:18 in front of Alberto Contador of Spain.

Stef Clement of the Netherlands won the 90-mile final stage from Faverges to Grenoble in the French Alps.

Last month, the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping tribunal banned Valverde for two years and barred him from competing in Italy after DNA evidence and documents allegedly showed he was involved in blood doping.

He could miss the Tour, which starts July 4, because part of the route goes through Italy.

"Right now, I just want to enjoy this victory. The rest is not in my hands, so just wait and see," said Valverde, who took the leader's jersey from Evans after Thursday's grueling fifth stage containing the feared Mont Ventoux.

Cycling's governing body is expected to soon announce whether it will extend Valverde's ban worldwide, though the rider could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Timothy Duggan of the United States was second in Sunday's stage, with Sebastien Joly of France taking third.

Contador said he wasn't surprised by his third-place overall finish because he "hadn't raced for two months." But he called the Dauphine Libere as "good preparation for the Tour."

"I will be ready for a beautiful show on July 4th," he said.