CAS: A Contador appeal might not be concluded by Tour de France start
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CAS: A Contador appeal might not be concluded by Tour de France start

by Shane Stokes at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
A hearing could be concluded by June, but CAS states proceedings could extend further

Alberto ContadorIt is believed that defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador could face an appeal by either the UCI or WADA in relation to his clearing of doping charges yesterday. However a likely timeframe provided to VeloNation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport shows that even if this happens, it could be possible for the rider to start this year’s Tour.

While a decision is possible by the end of June, CAS has confirmed that there are conditions under which the procedure could extend past that point.

According to CAS, the quickest outcome in any appeal would be arrived at if both sides requested an expediated process. However this depends on both sides being in agreement; as Contador is now eligible to race, it is debatable if his legal team will want a quick final decision which could in theory lead to his suspension.

“The parties could have different views, especially if the athlete is not suspended during the arbitration procedure,” CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb indicated to VeloNation. “In the event the parties do not agree to have an expedited procedure, the CAS will apply the time limits fixed in its rules.”

Reeb laid out the timescale for a standard CAS appeals procedure. Taking a theoretical date of March 24th as the date of filing the statement of appeal, and thus beginning the process, he said that the subsequent timing is as follows:

The appeal brief (=main written submission of the Appellant) should be filed on 4 April 2011.
The written answer should be filed on 26 April 2011 approx. (depending on when the appeal brief is received by the Respondent).
A hearing would take place 4-5 weeks after the filing of the answer, say on 30-31 May 2011.
Finally, the deliberations + notification of the final decision would be completed in June 2011.

However Reeb pointed out that factors could delay the final outcome further than this, thus potentially taking any decision past the start date of the Tour de France on July 2nd.

“This calendar could work only if the parties 1) do not request any extensions of time for the filing of their submissions, 2) do not request additional evidentiary measures (i.e. expert's opinion, etc...), 3) do not request a second exchange of written submissions and 4) are available for a hearing on the day(s) proposed by the CAS,” indicated Reeb.

“Unless there is any abuse of the rules, the CAS generally grants the above-mentioned extra time or extra measures in compliance with the parties' due process rights. In conclusion, the possibility to have a final CAS award before the end of June exists but it will depend on many parameters and, more generally, on the parties' agreement to proceed in a speedy manner, if any.”

He added that requests for extension of time of more than five days must be either approved by the other parties or granted by the CAS Panel itself.

Reeb indicated that a more precise timeframe could be provided once an appeal was lodged.

Contador was officially cleared yesterday by the disciplinary committee of the RFEC, which said that it accepted his explanation for his positive test for Clenbuterol. He has said that contaminated beef was the source of the substance.

UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani confirmed to VeloNation today that the governing body will study the dossier before making a decision. He said that any appeal would be separate to WADA, which has the right to take its own CAS action.

If there is indeed a delay in reaching a final decision, it remains to be seen how ASO would react to Contador riding the race. Depending on the timing, there is a chance that the final decision could be announced during the Tour itself. While a definitive clearing of the rider would remove doubt over the 2010 result, a negative ruling would generate headlines that ASO would clearly rather avoid during its marquee event.


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