McQuaid states that plasticizers do not form part of UCI's Contador appeal to CAS
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

McQuaid states that plasticizers do not form part of UCI's Contador appeal to CAS

by Shane Stokes at 6:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
UCI president says that Contador hasn’t yet proven that meat was the cause of positive test

Pat McQuaidPat McQuaid has said that plasticizers do not form part of the governing body’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in relation to the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol case.

The UCI president was asked by Spanish newspaper Marca about the issue which has been raised on several occasions by the media. L’Equipe last week stated that plasticizers and the hypothesis of a blood transfusion would form part of the UCI’s case, but has now carried a statement by Contador’s lawyer saying that this is not true.

Marca discussed the issue with McQuaid, first asking him about reports that Contador’s biological passport has some irregularities. “Sorry, but that is private data,” he responded. “I cannot deny nor confirm, I cannot speak of the individual profiles of a rider.

“I do not know where they come from with that kind of stuff,” he continued, when asked further about the rider’s passport and plasticizers. “What I am saying is that for us, at this time, it is only a case of Clenbuterol. There is nothing more behind it. We know about the rumours, but neither the UCI nor WADA have created problems with that.”

Marca pressed the issue, asking if specific levels of plasticizers represented a problem. “No, not at this time,” he answered. “The only thing he has to respond to is the issue of Clenbuterol.”

Following the news that Contador had tested positive for the latter substance, German TV station ARD and the New York Times both reported last October that analysis of the rider’s samples had revealed high levels of plasticizers. There are some claims that this can be an indirect sign of a transfusion; however the presence of the substances in food and the environment makes this less than certain.

Anti-doping researchers have been working on a test, but at this point in time, it has not been validated by WADA. The agency’s director general David Howman has said that levels of the substance can be used as additional evidence in suspected doping cases.

Contador has denied ever receiving a transfusion, and has offered to have his samples stored and reanalysed at a later date.

UCI explains reason for appeal:

McQuaid was asked why the UCI had chosen to appeal Contador’s clearing by the Spanish federation RFEC. That federation initially suggested that it was likely to hand him a one year ban, but ultimately decided to clear him without any sanction.

“It was for several reasons,” explained the Irishman. “For the great family of cycling, for world sport, for the fans .... and for the people who do not understand what has happened in Spain in the time that passed between the draft resolution, calling for a year of sanctions, and the final decision. At that time we know that there were some things [decided] and we need to know why that initial decision was changed.

"Our obligation is to try to know what happened. And for that, and so there is a fair decision, we turn to CAS.”

In the days between the initial ruling and the final decision, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said 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. In addition to that, Angel Juanes, président of the Audiencia Nacional Española, the highest legal court after the supreme court, said in El Mundo that the rider could not be found guilty under Spanish law. He told the newspaper that Contador “has not doped” and “should be acquitted.”

McQuaid explained that these incidents had made an appeal necessary. “Outside of Spain it is believed that certain interference could be the cause. We don’t say that, it is what people think. Our obligation is to try to know what happened. And for that reason, and so that there is a fair decision, we are appealing to CAS. We will accept any decision which it passes, because the CAS is the highest institution recognised worldwide. There is another reason: the documents Contador provided have left it unclear how he could get Clenbuterol in his system when, as we all know, the regulation says that is the athlete who must explain it. Legally, this is not clear.”

Contador’s defence is that he ate contaminated meat and this was the reason why the substance entered his system. As McQuaid stated, the burden of proof is on the athlete to prove the source of those substances, and he said that he felt there was a lack of clear evidence that the meat was responsible. He said that it was up to CAS to decide if the defence was plausible or not.

“I know that the dossier submitted by Contador is very complete and includes all types of situations. For this reason we need a tribunal to examine things properly and weigh up how likely things are to have happened.”


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