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Alberto Contador beefs up defence team by hiring Bosman lawyer

Belgian brief helped Tom Boonen successfully fight 2009 Tour de France exclusion

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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