Contador set for Tour de France as CAS names August dates for appeal
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Contador set for Tour de France as CAS names August dates for appeal

by Shane Stokes at 1:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Will ASO try to block his participation?

Alberto ContadorFive days after announcing that Alberto Contador’s scheduled hearing this week had been delayed, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced new dates of August 1 – 3rd.

The revised schedule means that the Spaniard will almost certainly ride the Tour de France, with race organisers ASO now being the only body which can oppose his participation in the event.

CAS said on Thursday that it had dropped the original dates. It occurred after an agreement was made between Contador and the UCI/WADA, who are fighting the Spanish Federation RFEC’s decision to clear the rider.

The Saxo Bank SunGard rider tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France and, under the WADA code, is liable for a suspension of between one and two years. However the RFEC accepted his claims that the positive test occurred due to food contamination, and cleared him of all charges in February.

WADA
told VeloNation on Friday that it had accepted a request from Contador to give him more time. “WADA acknowledged a decision from CAS to postpone the hearing following a request made by Alberto Contador,” a WADA spokesman said.

“Ideally, WADA would have liked a decision ahead of the 2011 Tour de France, but accept that other considerations have prevailed to ensure even greater fairness to Mr. Contador.”

Further details behind the decision have not been made public. WADA has decided to keep its appeal separate to that of the UCI. This hints that it may be pursuing different charges, or approaching the case from a different angle.

The two bodies have combined appeals in the past, most notably their joint action against Alejandro Valverde.

Speaking last week, Tour organisers ASO said that they were still hoping that a decision could be reached prior to the race. “We want to believe that a decision will be made before the start,” race director Christian Prudhomme told AFP.

“We are surprised because the CAS had repeatedly announced that the decision would be made before the start. The schedule was set with a hearing scheduled between 6 and 8 June. We can only repeat what we said since last autumn: hopefully there will be an answer before the Tour.”

ASO’s response to this evening’s news will therefore be an interesting one. Under UCI rule rule 2.2.010, organisers can block riders in certain circumstances.

“The organiser may refuse permission to participate in – or exclude from – an event, a team or one of its members whose presence might be prejudicial to the image or reputation of the organiser or of the event,” states that rule. “If the UCI and/or the team and/or one of its members does not agree with the decision taken in this way by the organizer, the dispute shall be placed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport which must hand down a ruling within an appropriate period. However, in the case of the Tour de France, the dispute shall be placed before the Chambre Arbitrale du Sport.”

The fact that Contador’s legal team are insisting that his positive was accidental and due to food contamination means that they would fight any such attempts to prevent him from riding the Tour. A battle prior to the start between them and ASO would be messy, but so too would be the fallout if he is ultimately found guilty after riding – and possibly winning – this year’s race.

Contador insists he is innocent and has said that he has never doped. He won the Giro d'Italia on Sunday, his sixth Grand Tour victory.

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