Contador CAS hearing delay reported, rider could start Tour de France
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contador CAS hearing delay reported, rider could start Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 5:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
CAS, ASO yet to comment on Spanish media report

One and a half weeks before his hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport is due to begin, there are reports that Alberto Contador’s case could be delayed until July or September. If so, the Spaniard could be permitted to start the Tour de France even though he is still facing doping charges relating to the previous edition of the case.

Spanish newspaper AS has reported today that the legal adviser to the Spanish cycling federation RFEC, Luis Sanz, has said that the hearings have been postponed due to a request from the defence (Contador’s side).

CAS previously announced dates of June 6th – 8th for the two hearings; both the UCI and WADA have appealed the RFEC decision in February to clear the rider without sanction. He tested positive for Clenbuterol in last year’s Tour de France, and had seemed likely to face a ban of at least one year.

Contador has denied ever using doping products, and said that the Clenbuterol entered his system via contaminated meat. He has disputed suggestions that it could have occurred after a blood transfusion. There have been suggestions that anti-doping authorities have been studying the presence of high levels of plasticizers, but this has not been officially confirmed. If so, these substances can be suggestive of a transfusion, although an official test has not been validated as yet.

VeloNation has contacted CAS to try to confirm AS’s reports of a delay, but no response has yet been given. The Swiss tribunal previously said that it was relatively confident that a decision would be made prior to the start of this year’s Tour. Race organisers ASO said that they wanted the case to be resolved in time. They want to both be able to confirm the identity of the winner of last year’s race, and also to know that a big challenger for this year’s title doesn’t have a question mark over him.

An ASO spokesman told VeloNation today that the organisation would only comment after such a delay was confirmed. In theory the race organisers could block the rider from starting the race, although this could be open to legal appeal.

Contador is currently leading the Giro d’Italia, and looks set to take his sixth Grand Tour on Sunday. Both it and the result of last year’s Tour may however depend on the outcome of the CAS hearing.

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