McQuaid says Contador could miss the Tour de France due to delays in finalising his case
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

McQuaid says Contador could miss the Tour de France due to delays in finalising his case

by Shane Stokes at 3:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spanish federation president confirms it wants feedback from WADA and UCI

Pat McQuaidUCI President Pat McQuaid has said that it is possible that Alberto Contador could miss this year’s Tour de France due to the length of time it will take for the case to be settled.

Even if the Spanish rider is cleared, or handed a shortened ban dating back to the end of last year’s Tour, there is a chance that appeals will drag on past the July 2nd start date of the race.

“It is not a good place to be for Contador at the moment,” the Irishman told Reuters in a telephone interview. “We could assume that it's a possibility that he will not be at the Tour de France.”

The competition committee of the Spanish cycling federation RFEC is currently studying documentation relating to the case and is likely to make a ruling at some point next month. The UCI and WADA have said that they will appeal any judgement which they feel is not adequate, thus opening up the possibility that they will take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Contador is virtually certain to go to CAS if he feels the RFEC decision is too harsh. He tested positive for Clenbuterol days before winning last year’s Tour de France, but insists that he ingested the substance accidentally after consuming tainted beef.

McQuaid previously expressed frustration with the length of time it is taking to reach a conclusion. However the UCI conceded yesterday that delays in the judgement are at least partially due to the governing body itself.

It said that the RFEC had sent documentation to it on December 10th requesting an opinion from the UCI Anti-Doping Commission regarding scientific aspects of the case. The UCI referred to it as ‘completely standard practice,’ and said after deliberations and translation, that it was likely to reply by January 24th.

The RFEC had previously indicated that it was likely to make its ruling in February. Whatever the outcome, each side has 30 days to lodge an appeal with CAS. Rulings to that court are normally heard months later, although it is sometimes possible to request an expedited process.

If Contador misses the Tour, McQuaid said that good racing would take place regardless. “I am confident that it will be an exciting season. There are a lot of guys ready to fill in his shoes…well, if not his shoes, the top places. It will be interesting to see the battle for the top spots.

"There are many highly motivated riders. Several other guys will be looking to move up. In every sport some big stars have left and the sport has not suffered from it.”

Spanish federation confirms it does want feedback:

Meanwhile, amidst disputed reports within Spanish media that the RFEC had asked WADA and the UCI to tell it if Contador should be suspended, that federation’s president Juan Carlos Castano has confirmed that it wants feedback.

“We do not want the UCI and WADA to decide [the outcome],” he told AP. “But the committee is composed of lawyers who are not experts in medical matters, [and] that is why we sought the views of those bodies, and also that of the medical commission of our federation and the Spanish anti-doping agency.

“If all reports point in the same direction, it will be easy to make a decision. If they do not go in the same direction, it will be more complicated. We just want to hear different opinions, so that we can make the best decision possible.”

When the disciplinary process began, the RFEC stated that the arbitrators did not have a history in doping-related cases. That is a contributory factor to the length of time it is taking a decision, but so too the complexities of the case.

El Pais suggested yesterday that tests for plasticizers could also form part of the enquiry. They could be used to determine if Contador received blood transfusions during the Tour de France, something he strongly denies.

The 27 year old Spaniard has said that he is determined to fight the current case and to race again as soon as possible. He signed a two year contract with the Saxo Bank-SunGard team last summer, having left the Astana squad with which he had competed since the start of 2008.


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