Alberto Contador is reported to have engaged the services of one of Europe’s top sports lawyers, presumably in the expectation that world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, and WADA, the World Anti-doping Agency, will appeal his exoneration last month by the Spanish national federation over doping charges relating to his positive test for clenbuterol at last year’s Tour de France.
Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport says that Contador, currently riding in the Vuelta Murcia which began today, has hired Jean-Louis Dupont, the Belgian lawyer most famous for his work on behalf of Jean Marc Bosman in the 1995 case that established freedom of movement for footballers in the European Union.
While that may be Dupont’s best-known case, the lawyer has in the past been involved in others involving cyclists and doping. In 2009, he successfully argued against the decision of Tour de France organisers ASO to exclude his client Tom Boonen from that year’s edition of the race after the Quick Step rider had failed an out-of-competition test, returning a positive result for cocaine.
Previously, he represented Spanish open water swimmer David Meca, who in 1999 successfully had a two-year ban for testing positive for nandrolone reduced to one year. Meca’s defence will have a familiar ring to anyone in the least bit familiar with the Contador case – the swimmer claimed that the substance had entered his body as a result of having eaten contaminated pork.
While it appears to be business as usual for Contador, who last month finally began racing in the colours of Saxo Bank-SunGard, the team he joined from Astana at the end of last season, the next few weeks are likely to demonstrate that the doping case against him is far from closed.
The UCI has fifteen days to file an appeal of the RFEC’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and is widely expected to do so, while WADA will have a further three weeks after the UCI’s deadline expires to decide whether to lodge its own appeal against the Spanish ruling.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.