As expected the UCI has today announced that it will be appealing to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) over the Spanish National Cycling Federation's decision to clear Alberto Contador without further punishment after he failed a test for clenbuterol during last year's Tour de France.
The UCI had 30 days to lodge an appeal following the Spanish Federation's decision – today is the 30th day. Announcing the descision to appeal a terse UCI statement simply said:
"The International Cycling Union (UCI) today decided – within the time frame stipulated by the Regulations – to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne against the Spanish Cycling Federation’s (RFEC) finding in the case of Alberto Contador. He was acquitted after testing positive for clenbuterol during an in-competition test carried out on 21st July 2010.
The decision to appeal comes after an in-depth study of the file received from the RFEC."
Had the UCI not appealed over the Contador case the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) had already signaled its willingness to do so - WADA would have had another 21 days to appeal from now. Given the potentially precedent-setting nature of the decision to clear Contador on the grounds of "involuntary ingestion" it was inconceivable that cycling's governing body would fail to challenge the decision.
Contador claimed that he had unknowingly ingested a small amount of clenbuterol in a steak he ate on the second rest day of last year's Tour, clenbuterol can help an athlete lose weight, and give a boost to aerobic capacity some livestock farmers use it to add lean mass to cattle. Contamination of meat with clenbuterol is a recognised problem in China and Mexico but is comparatively rare in Europe.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.