WADA denies challenging member of CAS panel in Contador case
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

WADA denies challenging member of CAS panel in Contador case

by Shane Stokes at 6:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Anti-doping agency responds to AP story

WADAIn the wake of yesterday’s story that the World Anti Doping Agency was unhappy with aspects of Alberto Contador’s CAS hearing, WADA has moved to play down the suggestion that it protested against the chairman of the panel in question.

“WADA has noticed the article written by the Associated Press on January 11, and wants to clarify that during the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing into the case of Alberto Contador, at no stage did WADA challenge any member of the panel for a lack of independence,” it stated in a brief communication released today.

“WADA is now awaiting the decision to be rendered by CAS.”

It added that it would follow the practice it has employed with this and all other case and make no further comment about the matter.

Yesterday’s AP story reported that CAS judges blocked the testimony of one of WADA’s chief witnesses, anti-doping scientist Michael Ashenden. He is part of the UCI’s biological passport committee and an expert in pinpointing signs of blood manipulation.

It is believed that his testimony could have been used to show that the traces of Clenbuterol in Contador’s system during the 2010 Tour de France may have been from a source other than food, as the rider has claimed.

However the Australian was unable to testify after CAS accepted protests from Contador’s legal team.

According to participants at the hearing, who told AP that they wished to remain anonymous, WADA lawyers were upset by the CAS panel’s handling of the case and considered walking out. “'At that point, they seriously were on a knife edge,” it quoted a witness as saying.

The report suggested that an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal could follow, depending on the outcome of the case.

Today’s statement from WADA is short and addresses one aspect of the AP story only. It doesn’t deal with the suggestion that it was frustrated by the handling of the case, and that it considered leaving the tribunal in protest.

Given that it has said it won’t comment further until a decision is reached, a clearer picture of how things played out in the Swiss court may take some time to emerge.

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