UCI acknowledges Alberto Contador’s right to ride the Tour de France
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

UCI acknowledges Alberto Contador’s right to ride the Tour de France

by Ben Atkins at 4:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Management Committee regrets “circumstances of uncertainty” but asks rider to be respected

alberto contadorThe International Cycling Union (UCI) Management Committee, meeting in Maastricht, Netherlands, has issued a statement regarding the participation of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) in the upcoming Tour de France. The Spanish rider was acquitted by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) of the charge of doping in last year’s race, despite him testing positive for clenbuterol, but both the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are appealing against the decision to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS).

Until the CAS makes its verdict, says the statement, Contador is within his rights to continue racing.

“As a consequence of his acquittal by the Disciplinary Commission of the Spanish Cycling Federation,” reads the statement, “Alberto Contador has the statutory right to take part in any competition insofar as he has not been found guilty by the CAS.”

The UCI recognises that “many observers within the cycling community as well as the general public” have expressed “disappointment” with the length of time taken to settle the case; but “recognises the legitimacy of the request made by Mr Contador’s defence team, and has accepted that request in the interests of guaranteeing the rider a fair trial.”

While the statement recognises that the situation is regrettable, it maintains that it is important to respect the legal process.

"Although it is undeniably regrettable that Alberto Contador’s participation in the Tour de France should be in circumstances of such uncertainty, it is nevertheless vital that we make an effort to understand if we are to deal rationally with the situation."

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge entered the debate yesterday, standing behind Contador’s right to ride. “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,” he said.

While the UCI hopes for a swift resolution to the case, which is currently scheduled to be heard in early August, thanks to a number of delays, it hopes, it says, that justice is “administered properly”.

“Until that time, the UCI Management Committee asks that we respect Alberto Contador’s right to be treated like every other rider who takes the start of the Tour de France,” the statement concludes.

“The prestige of the event warrants it, and the dignity of all athletes demands it.”

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