Olympic chief Jacques Rogge believes Contador is entitled to compete in Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Olympic chief Jacques Rogge believes Contador is entitled to compete in Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 12:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
IOC President concedes that rider’s case raises doubts

Alberto ContadorWhile he accepts that Alberto Contador’s participation in this year’s Tour de France will raise doubts, IOC President Jacques Rogge said today that he didn’t object to the rider taking part.

“The lawyers of Contador thought that they needed more time, and as long as WADA and UCI agreed with that, I see no problem,” the Olympic chief told reporters, according to AP.

A verdict was original due before the Tour de France but the Court of Arbitration for Sport set a new hearing date of August 1st to 3rd. An outcome is likely to come in late August or possibly September, over a year after the Spaniard tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour.

“I agree that it will cast a question mark on the validity of the result until the verdict is rendered ... but there is a presumption of innocence,” Rogge said. “It is a highly technical issue, it is a very difficult scientific issue.”

In the meantime, Contador will try to win his fourth Tour, and to add to the wins he has already clocked up this season. He has taken nine victories in all, including the overall classification in the Giro d’Italia. If he is ultimately sanctioned by CAS, he risks losing those wins as well as the result from last year’s Tour.

He maintains that he didn’t take banned substances and that the Clenbuterol got into his system via contaminated meat. This explanation was accepted by the Spanish federation RFEC in February.

Meanwhile CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb has said that even with the request for a delay in the hearing, he believes it still would have been possible to have reached a verdict had the UCI and WADA acted sooner in requesting their appeal.

The UCI took the maximum 30 day period to lodge its appeal, with WADA’s following soon after. Reeb’s contention is that both could have acted sooner than this.

“My regret is that this case could not be submitted to the CAS earlier,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Contador was tested on the second rest day of last year’s Tour, was found positive for Clenbuterol in August, and the news was officially announced at the end of September. On November 8th the UCI requested the Spanish federation RFEC open a disciplinary proceeding; under the UCI’s own rules, a decision should have been made within one month.

The governing body however relaxed its own deadlines for the RFEC, citing the complexity of the case, but itself caused a further delay when it didn’t respond in time to a request by the RFEC on December 10th for additional feedback and information. It had said it would do so by January 24th, but failed to meet its own deadline.

A verdict was eventually given on February 15th, when the RFEC then decided to clear him outright. That was over two months later than the usual timeframe for doping cases.

The UCI then took the maximum permitted amount of time to lodge an appeal to CAS, confirming on March 24th that it would fight the decision.

''In view of all these operations, it seems possible to have saved some time,'' Reeb said. ''But the purpose of such analysis is not to blame … rather to identify where time can be saved.''


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