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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.