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Contador's "Get out of ban free card."

I am no fan of Floyd Landis but.... he has a right to be ticked off right now.

Last November Landis was interviewed on German television and said that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is corrupt and protects certain riders.

Now the UCI on February 7th sent Landis a letter giving him 15 days to retract his statement or be sued in a Swiss court. Floyd shot back an email that pretty much said, “I’m broke, so go ahead and sue good luck.”

What is the UCI thinking with the timing of this threat of a law suit? The handling of the Contador affair screams hypocrisy. Landis was found to have doped in the 2006 Tour de France, and was immediately stripped of his Tour win and barred from competition for two years.

Contador on the other hand was found to have Clenbuterol in his system within days of the Tour de France finish in July 2010, but the UCI kept it quiet until the end of September. Then they only said something because details had been leaked to the press.

Next the UCI pussy-foots around for months and finally handed the case over to the Spanish Cycling Federation, who initially gave Contador a one year ban. Alberto got off light when you consider most other athletes get two years.

Now in an unprecedented move a week later the Spanish Federation reverses its finding, and now says Contador is innocent. This came soon after the Spanish Prime Minister no less, stated that Contador had broken no Spanish law.

Floyd Landis broke no US law, but the American President or other top ranking US politician didn’t get involved in his case. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has set a zero tolerance for clenbuterol in an athlete’s body, no matter how the substance got there. Its presence warrants a sanction; otherwise why have this rule.

Other athletes have already been sanctioned because of clenbuterol use; you can’t pick and choose who gets banned and who doesn’t. This is not criminal law of “Innocent until proven guilty” no one is being executed or sent to prison. These are rules of a sport that all the players agree to abide by.

The UCI has to step in now and ban Contador for the full two years and strip him of his TDF win. If they don’t they lose all credibility, and Floyd Landis is right; there is one rule for the super stars, and another for the rest.

The UCI needs to either strictly enforce its own rules on doping or get out of dope testing altogether and abide by whatever the WADA decides. The later might be the better choice because the UCI has a conflict of interest between promoting the sport of cycling, and enforcing the rules.

Right now they are failing miserably on both counts, and they are killing the sport they claim to love and uphold. If Contador rides in this year’s Tour de France I for one will not feel inclined to watch it.


Here are more reactions to the Contador non sanction case.


Reader Comments (12)

The UCI is worthless. Any sanctioning body that picks and chooses who its rules apply to shouldn't be allowed to exist. Yet, for the last few years I've heard nothing but complaints about them from the cycling press, cycling bloggers, cyclists, fans, etc., etc. How freaking hard would it be for someone to start a new race sanctioning organization? Money? A little influence? Some sponsors? What else is needed? Offer the UCI pros licenses, uniformly enforce the rules, blow a big ol' raspberry at Pat McQuaid and refuse to race in banana republics (like Spain). Problem solved. Meh.

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott Loveless

Ban Contador for two years, strip him of TdF title and be done with it. Lance Armstrong is likely to have more damaging information come out and at that point may be subject to have some or all TdF titles stripped (we'll have to see how that may play out).

Floyd got the worst treatment of all. Maybe because he was an American and not a big name at the time but it might have happened to whoever won in 2006 anyway.

What's the big deal about Contador anyhow? Multi winner of TdF, so what!

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

This is the time for the UCI to step up to the plate..........or crawl back into a hole.

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMP

Why does anyone care about any professional sports anymore? Pro-sports, business, politics, policing... If there's any money to be made, humans have corrupted it.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMr.S.

Lovely Post mate, bringing up some real info and issues which seem to have got people venting their thought for you.
Keep Posting

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermary

Inconsistency in rule enforcement is abhorrent and (as already stated) is part and parcel of pro-sports. But not watching the TdF, gee I don't know if I could do that.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Good conclusion Dave, to not even watch the freak parade.
Just as in politics and business, it doesn’t take honesty and integrity to win in professional sports.
All top athletes cheat, deceive and do drugs. They have to. Unlike celebrities who flaunt such a life (thus enhancing their reputation), pros hide and deny it and it keeps the public pacified.
Drug tests are a mockery of decent people who esteem values worth living for.
Lance going into politics? Perfect fit.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

UCI - Utter and Complete Ineptitude.

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

The national and international governing bodies (UCI, Olympics, WADA, etc.) exist only to serve their own interests by maximizing their power, doing deals with their friends, and increasing personal wealth. Absolutely shameful.

They like to slam the U.S., but NOBODY does old school corruption like the Euros.

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBig Mikey

Follow the money.

February 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRedtaildd

Don't think the UCI are alone here. A lot of investigative reporting seems to be focussing on various sporting bodies and possible corruption.

February 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott

His measured level was 400 times below the permited level there fore not guilty.And as for plastiscer in his body which is more liklley: plastic blood transfusion or the hundreds of drinks bottles he uses?
I agree its pathetic but the UCI wrongly accused him and its them that should be removed from drug testing BTW some sod-ccer players in the UK get a 4 week ban for failing dope tests Not really a ban more a vacation JIM

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames reilly

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