Breaking News: RFEC set to clear Alberto Contador of doping charges?

Spanish press reports that Contador will meet RFEC tomorrow to be told he's been cleared

by Simon_MacMichael   February 14, 2011  

Alberto Contador Press Conference in Yellow © PhotoSport International.jpg

The Spanish newspaper El Pais has this afternoon reported that Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is set to be cleared by the Spanish national federation, the RFEC, of the doping charges resulting from his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol during last year’s race.

Contador has been summoned to the headquarters of the RFEC tomorrow to hear the outcome of its enquiry, and El Pais says that sources close to the four-man committee that is deciding his fate are inclined to clear him, meaning that he would be free to race from tomorrow.

Such a verdict would bring the RFEC into open conflict with world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), since with no minimum threshold required to establish an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol, according to the letter of the law, a mandatory two-year ban should apply.

Last year, the UCI and WADA won a case at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) to enforce worldwide a ban brought in Italy against 2009 Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde as a result of his links to Operacion Puerto, with the RFEC never having taken action against the then Caisse d’Epargne rider.

A decision to clear Contador, or impose a one-year rather than two-year ban as it said it proposed doing last month, would see the RFEC and Contador face the UCI and WADA at CAS to determine his fate, ensuring further negative headlines for a sport that to many in the wider population has already been tarnished too often as a result of drugs scandals.

Contador has always claimed that the presence of clenbuterol in his system resulted from his having eaten a contaminated steak on the evening before he was tested, by virtue of being race leader, on the second rest day of last year’s race.

For its part, the Spanish press does appear to have been well informed about the case to date, often breaking news of developments ahead of official confirmation, and while the RFEC did state last month that it proposed banning Contador for a year, the cyclist last week presented what he said was new evidence in his defence.

The 28-year-old rider, arguably the world’s most complete cyclist and winner not only of the Tour de France on three occasions but also the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta, both those successes coming in 2008, is due to ride for Saxo Bank SunGard this season, having been signed by Bjarne Riis late last summer from Astana.

Contador is hugely popular in Spain, and has received the backing of prominent figures ever since news of his failed test emerged last September, including the president of the RFEC – who does not sit on the committee deciding his case – and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who said last week that there was no legal reason to sanction the rider.

Should he escape a ban, then it is likely that the committee deciding his case will have been persuaded by Contador’s reliance on article 296 of the UCI’s anti-doping rules, which provides that a ban can be eliminated “if the rider establishes… that he bears No Fault or Negligence,” although the onus is on the cyclist to “establish how the Prohibited Substance entered his system in order to have the period of Ineligibility eliminated.”
 

28 user comments

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If true...

The most unexpected decision in the whole history of decisions. NOT. Angry

othello's picture

posted by othello [296 posts]
14th February 2011 - 13:54

2 Likes

One thing positive about him being cleared is he gets to race at the tour, that way he can get spanked by Schleck good and proper this time round

Trev Allen's picture

posted by Trev Allen [169 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:04

2 Likes

Elf-stone! Elf-stone! Elf-stone!

posted by Mat Brett [1920 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:05

2 Likes

I wouldn't be so sure Trev. If he's dirty, and I assume he is, racing clean and being miles off last years performances would be like an admission of guilt. Who's to say he would just race doped again.

posted by adscrim [113 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:09

2 Likes

17:35 (today even)

Wouldn't get too excited about him being at the Tour if he is cleared Trev, the UCI & WADA will appeal + it wouldn't surprise me if ASO said he was not welcome leaving him free to concentrate on the Vuelta… although ASO own a slice of that too which might makes things tricky either way

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4153 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:11

1 Like

18.27. But wow, what a great story this could turn out to be. Agree with Trev Allen whole-heartedly!

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:28

2 Likes

Do you always have to put that same smug-looking picture up when you do the Bertie stories.

The number of times I've slapped my screen...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [413 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:47

1 Like

For christs sake, just do the right thing and ban him. Someone needs to take control of cycling and get it in order, this does no good for the sport or any businesses assosciated with it - how does competitive cycling attract new interest when a high profile rider is caught doping but let off because he is high profile (i hope a confirmed test for plasticizers comes through soon)

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:53

2 Likes

Seriously guys you think Andy Schleck is a clean rider??
It is this black & white blame any individual thats caught attitude, that allows organisinsed doping to continue in this sport.
If Schleck can keep up with a doped Contador... what does that tell you?
Most cyclists now realise their was little chance of a clean Armstrong beating all the blood doped riders, at the hight of EPO abuse!
Dammn I wish people would take their heads out the sand, instead of just screaming cheat at the latest to be caught.

Also what a shit tour it could be without Contador? a boring Schleck fest, maybe Basso could liven things up... but you same people will probably scream cheat at him Sad

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
14th February 2011 - 15:14

1 Like

I dont doubt that others are doping but when caught dopers need to be punished. It was clear to see what the french and some spanish thought of contador on the tourmalet, the cries of cheat, doper and "boooo" accompanied him, vino and others up the hill.

I agree that schleck may be doing something similar but contador was caught, albeit for something a bit odd but also had other unexplained traces in his blood.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
14th February 2011 - 15:37

2 Likes

The situation is a joke and makes the sport look pathetic.

RFEC and UCI don't want him out of the sport, he's a big hitter so an important personality for them - that's why this sorry saga is dragging on so long.

It's a shame we can't have a single system / authority for sanctions that acts promptly and treats all rule-breakers fairly and equally.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2025 posts]
14th February 2011 - 15:39

1 Like

@Paulo
Are we naive enough to think that nobody else dopes and the last one caught is the last doper. No, that would be a triumph of hope over experience.

But does anyone have a better proposal than:

1. Doing the most rigorous tests possible (and I think most people here would be supportive of the French agency AFLD rather than the UCI).

2. Banning people who get caught and not making any exceptions however high-profile or well-represented.

3. Assuming everyone else is innocent until proven guilty, but rather than take their word for it, go back to Point 1.

What are the alternatives - give up cycling and ban everybody because we think they might have cheated but we can't prove it ?

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [545 posts]
14th February 2011 - 15:45

2 Likes

[blows on dice in hand]

17:55 tomorrow (15th Feb).

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1365 posts]
14th February 2011 - 16:26

2 Likes

wtf? absolutely disgraceful!!!!

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
14th February 2011 - 16:31

1 Like

19:48 today (14th)

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7468 posts]
14th February 2011 - 16:45

2 Likes

14:37 on Feb 15th

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [628 posts]
14th February 2011 - 16:57

2 Likes

19:57 today (14th).

Everyone said the Spanish authorities would find a way to clear him, but I couldn't bring myself to believe them... fascinated to see if they were right.

It seems they are going to accept his 'Gasquet' defence (ingestion of the substance with no fault or negligence). Difference is that Gasquet actually showed the source of his ingestion (the woman he kissed tested positive for cocaine and the results of the test were admitted as evidence). Contador still hasnt produced any evidence of the innocent ingestion (i.e. the allegedly tainted steak) so the authorities should not be able to clear him on that basis.

Of course, if they do clear him, it will certainly be appealed, and based on what has been seen so far there is no way CAS will clear him. So this just prolongs the whole process.

That said, we get a whole new dimension to cyclesport - betting on repetitive posters on road.cc!

posted by step-hent [697 posts]
14th February 2011 - 17:02

1 Like

andylul wrote:
Do you always have to put that same smug-looking picture up when you do the Bertie stories.

The number of times I've slapped my screen...

Funnily enough was thinking that myself - we have got one of him looking a tad pensive… but then smug would probably be the most appropriate shot if today's news proves to be true.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4153 posts]
14th February 2011 - 17:06

1 Like

andylul wrote:
Do you always have to put that same smug-looking picture up when you do the Bertie stories.

The number of times I've slapped my screen...

I think if I'd held on to the yellow jersey after a hard day in the Pyrenees and knew that there was a big, fat, juicy steak waiting for me for dinner, I'd be pretty smug too Drooling

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8368 posts]
14th February 2011 - 17:12

1 Like

the one where he looks like he's in a sniper's sight is my favourite Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7468 posts]
14th February 2011 - 17:14

1 Like

18:39. Elfstone, you can do it! (for me)

The Man In Black.

posted by gandberg [215 posts]
14th February 2011 - 17:18

2 Likes

This whole thing looks like it is going to result in the 'not proven' verdict here in Scotland - basically, "we know you did it BUT we can't prove it BUT we will get you later!!" Devil

As for Elfstone - 1500 tomorrow (15th) Big Grin

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1060 posts]
14th February 2011 - 20:32

1 Like

giff77 wrote:
This whole thing looks like it is going to result in the 'not proven' verdict here in Scotland - basically, "we know you did it BUT we can't prove it BUT we will get you later!!" Devil

As for Elfstone - 1500 tomorrow (15th) Big Grin

Agree, mentioned in last week's story about Contador saying the drugs testing regime was stuck in the 60s that he seemed to be advocating a "not proven" type verdict between "guilty" and "not guilty."

As for Elfstone, I reckon he'll be a no-show, given that if Bertie gets off, he won't need the advice of friends (well, not until UCI/WADA take him to CAS).

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8368 posts]
14th February 2011 - 21:46

2 Likes

So what's the latest...he was summoned today wasn't he?

Elfstone is too busy being Jim Kendell over on cycling weekly...

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/516137/spanish-media-claims-c...

posted by James Poole [56 posts]
15th February 2011 - 13:44

2 Likes

Yes but the drug test says he is guilty. His blood/urine test or whatever was analysed and shown to have traces of a banned substance. He has made a claim that it entered his system by accident but (as far as us outside the various bodies knows) he has not be able to produce any evidence to support his claim. So as I understand the rules he should receive a 24 month ban. End of story. But that is just so simple and unfortunately there are far too many interested parties involved between the detection of a banned substance and the ruling that the rules stipulate.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [394 posts]
15th February 2011 - 14:30

2 Likes

When you have eliminated the impossible what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Unless Bertie doped (impossible) and he's lying (impossible) it MUST be the Steak a la Clen (transported in a blood bag, packed with plasticisers to keep it tender) that was to blame.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [413 posts]
15th February 2011 - 16:05

2 Likes

What really hurts is that Elfstone was over there doing his Jim Kendell schtick (okay that is is real name) a whole day ago… was it something we said?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4153 posts]
15th February 2011 - 16:31

2 Likes

Elfstone, where the hell are you? We're worried sick here, and your tea's ruined.

posted by Mat Brett [1920 posts]
15th February 2011 - 16:58

1 Like