Prudhomme frustrated by delay in Contador verdict
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prudhomme frustrated by delay in Contador verdict

by Conal Andrews at 7:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Says ASO wanted a verdict before Tour start

Christian PrudhommeTour de France director Christian Prudhomme has said that the race would have been happy about Alberto Contador’s participation had he been cleared, but that he feels a sense of frustration with the fact that he will ride the Tour without a verdict in his Clenbuterol case.

Race organisers ASO and Prudhommme previously indicated that they were unable to block him taking part, although three years ago they successfully applied pressure to stop Tom Boonen from riding the race after his positive test for cocaine.

“We would have liked to welcome him in knowing he was finally cleared,” he told RMC.fr. “For months I could not imagine the opposite, especially since the dates were fixed. The date change has been accepted by the three CAS arbitrators.”

Those arbitrators made the decision after Contador’s lawyers requested an extension of time in the case, and both the UCI and WADA, who had appealed the Spanish Federation’s February ruling to clear him, agreed to the request.

Although the rider is free to race under the current rules, his participation is certain to lead to many questions, particularly from the mainstream media who might find it incomprehensible that he could test positive in the 2010 edition, yet ride in 2011 without a final answer. Several prominent riders such as Bradley Wiggins have also said that they consider the uncertainty unfortunate for the Tour.

Prudhomme knows the circumstances why this has happened, in terms of the CAS appeal, but also speaks of his frustration with the delay. “We were told he was cleared by his federation,” he said, when asked if ASO could have prevented his start. “We believed that he would be judged during the Tour but we do not learn that until the end of May. Those are the highest levels of the sport told us, finally, we'll see after the Tour de France.

“The fact remains that it is unbelievable that a year after, we still don’t have an answer and that we must wait until after the Tour de France for those answers. There is an incredible time difference between the sporting media and that of sports law.”

Contador is heading to the Tour aiming to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same season. Pruhomme has said that he doesn’t anticipate a negative reaction from the public, saying that he was more worried about Lance Armstrong’s return to the race two years ago.

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