UCI to appeal Contador doping case to Court of Arbitration for Sport
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

UCI to appeal Contador doping case to Court of Arbitration for Sport

by Shane Stokes at 7:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Spanish rider facing major battle over coming months

Alberto ContadorThe UCI has confirmed in the past few minutes that it intends appealing the Contador case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The rider tested positive for Clenbuterol during last year’s Tour de France, and faced a ban of up to two years plus the loss of his title.

The Spanish Federation RFEC cleared him last month. It had initially proposed a one year ban, but after deliberation and further input from Contador’s legal team, opted to clear him of all charges.

“The International Cycling Union (UCI) today decided – within the time frame stipulated by the Regulations – to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne against the Spanish Cycling Federation’s (RFEC) finding in the case of Alberto Contador,” it stated.

“He was acquitted after testing positive for clenbuterol during an in-competition test carried out on 21st July 2010. The decision to appeal comes after an in-depth study of the file received from the RFEC.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency WADA is also entitled to appeal, and is likely to do so in light of today’s announcement. It has a further three weeks to submit an application to CAS.

Appeal is latest development in months-long case:

Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol on July 21 at the Tour de France, on the second rest day of the race. He was told about the result on August 24, but the news was not made official until his spokesman announced the news on September 30.

The UCI announced that same day that it provisionally suspended the rider and, on November 8, it asked the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) to open a disciplinary hearing.

The RFEC requested guidance from the UCI in December but despite the governing body stating initially that it would respond by January 24th, the Spanish federation did not get a reply.

It then decided to proceed, telling the rider that it was leaning towards imposing a one year ban. He was invited to give his opinion and both he and his legal team indicated that they would fight until he was fully cleared.

As that final decision approached, a number of people and bodies external to the RFEC’s competition committee weighed in. Spanish Prime Minster José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said on Twitter that he believed “there's no legal reason to justify sanctioning Contador."

Both the Spanish Social Democrat Party (PSOE) and Popular Party also backed Contador’s claims that he didn’t knowingly ingest the substance and should therefore be cleared, as did Angel Juanes, président of the Audiencia Nacional Española, the highest legal court after the Supreme Court.

The RFEC finally announced on February 15th that it had decided not to sanction him at all, saying that it accepted his explanation for the positive test.

At that point that decision became open to appeal by both the UCI and WADA, who both indicated they would considering bringing it to CAS. The UCI had 30 days after the receipt of all the documentation to notify CAS if it would appeal, and that decision has now been taken.

WADA has a total of 51 days, giving it another three weeks before it must decide if it will appeal. Both parties have said that their decisions are not dependant upon that of the other.

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