Alberto Contador appeal hearing ends; now the waiting game starts again

Decision expected some time between Christmas and early January as CAS proceedings come to a close

by Simon_MacMichael   November 25, 2011  

Alberto Contador Press Conference in Yellow © PhotoSport International.jpg

Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador yesterday delivered an impassioned 15-minute speech to the three members of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who will decide his future as the four-day appeal hearing into his acquittal on doping charges earlier this year by the Spanish national cycling federation, the RFEC, came to an end.

Since Monday, some 20 witnesses ranging from world-renowned experts in doping to the butcher who sold the steak that Contador has always said was responsible for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France had appeared at the hearing at the Chateau di Bethusy in Lausanne.

Now, everything rests with the three man arbitration panel, presided over by Efraim Barak alongside Contador nominee Ulrich Haas and Quentin Byrne Sutton, selected by the appellants, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and the UCI.

They have the unenviable task not only of sifting through that testimony but also ten archive boxes full of documents, estimated by Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport to contain 20-25,000 pages of evidence.

Their final decision in the much-delayed case is expected sometime between Christmas and early January.

Paolo Tiralongo, a team mate of Contador at the Astana team he was then riding for, told the newspaper that the Spaniard had displayed “the character of a champion.

“In your place, I’d have been going mad,” Tiralongo told him. “I’m certain of his innocence,” he added.

The appeal by WADA and the UCI is seeking to overturn that surprise decision of the RFEC announced in February this year to exonerate Contador; a week earlier, the federation had announced that it was likely to ban him for a year.

WADA’s case reportedly rests on its attempting to establish that the presence of clenbuterol in the cyclist’s urine was not the result of innocent consumption of contaminated meat, but was the result of an illegal blood transfusion.

As the athlete at the centre of the case, it fell to Contador to deliver the final address of the hearing, the Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that he was on the verge of tears as he did so.

Should the case go against him, reports the newspaper, the result will be devastating, and not only from a sporting point of view; at risk is €10 million representing the salary from his two-year contract with Saxo Bank, a potential €3.5 million fine from the UCI, and €1 million in legal fees – in all, the Gazzetta estimates that it could cost him €20 million.

The decision itself of CAS cannot be appealed, although there is a potential avenue of appeal to Swiss supreme court, but only relating to matters such as procedural irregularities.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I hope he doesnt get banned

2 wheels please!

posted by mancsi [119 posts]
25th November 2011 - 12:21

like this
Like (1)

You would have thought that his team manager would simply avoid beef as a source of protein if there is even a tiny chance of this happening. I wonder if other teams still eat beef or not or only from sources where they're absolutely sure there can't have been any contamination.

Or maybe they do it deliberately to give themselves a get-out clause if they get caught doing something else?

Not sure even after the decision is made that we will really know what happened.

posted by Alan Tullett [1434 posts]
25th November 2011 - 12:35

like this
Like (1)


Thanks for digging out the old smug photo...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
25th November 2011 - 13:08

like this
Like (1)

I think he should get treated fairly - in line with other sports

Lance tested positive for corticoids in one of his TDF wins and was allowed to continue and keep the jersey, on the basis of a letter from his Dr

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
25th November 2011 - 14:19

like this
Like (0)

i'm not sure other sports really deal fairly - they cover things up and don't test regularly. doesnt sound so fair to me...

Seems to me that 'fair' here is an application of the rules to which he knew he was subject. He tested positive for a banned substance. From all the evidence discussed in the press (and I accept that may not be all of it) he has failed to show that the meat was contaminated and that that was the source of the substance - all he has shown is that there was a small possibility (very small - below 0.1%) that the meat contained clenbuterol. Saying 'I've shown that this was possible' is not, under the current rules, a good defence to a doping violation. If they want to put in a minimum level for clenbuterol, then fair enough - but those aren't the current rules, so to let Contador off without a penalty simply can't be 'fair' to all the other riders who are subject to the same system.

posted by step-hent [666 posts]
25th November 2011 - 14:49

like this
Like (0)

Recently, some footballers in the U17 World Cup in Mexico were let off after it was agreed that a lot of positive tests for clenbuterol were probably the result of contaminated beef rather than a doping ring, as Mexico and China are the main sources of contaminated beef.

For the Beijing Olympics, I believe, and some other events in China, athletes have been warned to avoid beef altogether. Not sure if any warnings were given before the Mexico event by FIFA, but the professionals involved in the Mexico event should have known about it and avoided the problem. Contador likewise.

As for other sports being less tough, Toure of Man City, was banned and fined by his club for testing positive after taking his wife's slimming pills. Ferdinand was banned just for missing one test, I think. Whereas Longo missed two but got nothing because for the third she hadn't been told she still had to give her whereabouts. Pretty lucky as far as I can see.

I think he should be banned for a minimum of one year at least, but have a feeling he's going to get away with it.

posted by Alan Tullett [1434 posts]
25th November 2011 - 15:53

like this
Like (0)

You can see this is going to be swept under the carpet.

posted by Karbon Kev [670 posts]
25th November 2011 - 17:42

like this
Like (0)

'Their final decision in the much-delayed case is expected sometime between Christmas and early January.'What year?


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [945 posts]
26th November 2011 - 21:13

like this
Like (1)

antonio wrote:
'Their final decision in the much-delayed case is expected sometime between Christmas and early January.'What year?

LoL, quote of the thread mate! classic! Rolling On The Floor

posted by No1 [22 posts]
21st December 2011 - 14:36

like this
Like (0)