Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Contador ban: why this isn't the end

Finally comes the news that we were waiting for, CAS made their decision on the Alberto Contador clenbuterol case.

It has been 19 months since Contador gave that now infamous positive test and we may still not have a conclusive answer. The Spaniard has 30 days to appeal and could announce his intentions, in a press conference on 7th February.  If he does choose to appeal, he could have competed through his entire ban and not feel the effects of it.

Whether you think Contador is innocent or guilty, you have to admit that this case has been handled as badly as it possibly could have been. I personally lean towards the side of the two/three-time Tour de France winner. However, if he is going to be punished it should be done properly and should actually be a punishment.

His ban will be backdated to the day of the test result, which means that he will be eligible to compete in the Vuelta later this year. While the appeal upon appeal has been looked at, Contador has been allowed to compete and this ruling could affect around 28 stages or races. This is completely ridiculous and if he has been allowed to compete then the ban should run from the last race run and stop just cancelling out past races. Fair enough he will have to lose his Tour de France title, as that is where the positive test came from, but leave the other races as they are.

Other questions have to be raised, when you consider that the Spanish Federation cleared Contador of all charges. Now that the case has gone to CAS he has been handed out a two-year ban, which is obviously on the other end of the scale. You have to ask if national federations should be allowed to decide on bans for their own riders. The Spanish Federation took ages to finally ban Alejandro Valverde, while he was already banned from racing in Italy.

I do also think it is ironic that riders like Michele Scarponi and Stefan Schumacher will inherit race positions, if the ban goes through.

I still have to say that I am on Contador’s side and banning someone on the case of probability and not certainty is a load of rubbish. Please tell me what you think about the ban and what the future holds for Contador.

Follow this link for a list of the stages and races which are affected by the ban: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/new-winners-emerge-from-contadors-suspension

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