Governing body demands final ruling...and soon

The UCI has issued a press release that betrays its irritation, some might even say downright anger, at the Spanish Cycling Federation’s announcement yesterday of an “interim decision” in the Alberto Contador doping case.

The release says:
“Following the confusion generated by yesterday's announcement by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) on the case of Alberto Contador – particularly concerning the "interim decision" of which the rider was notified – widely covered by the media, the UCI is obliged to clarify that this information cannot in any way be considered as an anticipation of the definitive decision in the case.

To date, Alberto Contador has not received a sanction and the UCI still awaits – in accordance with the provisions of its own regulations and those of the World Anti-Doping Code – to be informed of the decision of the RFEC Disciplinary Commission that should be provided as soon as possible.

The document that was forwarded to the UCI this afternoon by the RFEC only represents one element of the disciplinary proceedings undertaken by the Spanish Federation – and upon which the rider may express an opinion before being subject to the ruling – and cannot be used for the purpose of a potential appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Only the definitive decision, that must be issued by the RFEC, can fulfil this purpose – within the time period established by the regulations – for the UCI, for WADA and for the rider himself.

Considering the major media interest in the case, the UCI regrets the inappropriate speculation that has characterised the proceedings and expresses its desire that this affair be drawn to a conclusion in an orderly fashion.”

The situation appears to once again highlight a major flaw in the entire rider-sanctioning process which leaves it to national federations to impose penalties on their own riders after initial suspension by the UCI.

The sport’s governing body has already clashed this month with the Italian Olympic Committee over its decision not to sanction former Liquigas-Doimo rider Franco Pellizotti following the discovery of irregularities in his biological passport.