What a week it has been for the sport of professional cycling. It started off with the Tyler Hamilton interview on 60 Minutes; now we hear that Alberto Contador’s Clembuterol appeal will now not be heard before the start of this year’s Tour de France.
The joint appeal by the UCI and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is against the Spanish Cycling Federation’s finding that Contador is innocent of clenbuterol use. The case to be heard by the Court for Glacial Arbitration in Sport (CAS) has been delayed at the request of Contador’s lawyers. Apparently they need more time to gather evidence.
This is ridiculous, cycling fans had been promised, and it was expected to be settled one way or another before the TDF. The man I feel for is Christian Prudhomme the man who puts on the Tour de France, what does he do now, let Contador ride or not? He is screwed either way.
I am to the stage where I don’t care anymore, and I think that is exactly the tactic being played by the UCI. The UCI failed to ban Contador when he tested positive for clenbuterol, but instead turned the responsibility over to the Spanish Cycling Federation.
When Spain found Alberto innocent, the UCI has to go through the motions of an appeal. But it is a half assed appeal, one they don’t really want to win. I don’t hear any loud protests from the UCI at this latest delay, and if you remember one of the reasons this case has gone on this long is because the UCI waited until the very last minute to launch an appeal.
I predict that the whole matter may resolve itself; I think Contador will voluntarily withdraw from this year’s Tour de France. The reason; this year’s Giro d’Italia has been brutal over a route that has had an exceptional number of tough mountain stages.
After last Saturday’s stage 15. 143 miles (229 km.) featuring five big climbs over the Dolomites from Conegliano to Gardeccia Val di Fassa, Contador said it was the “hardest day of racing in his life.” (Video above.)
I don’t believe he was expecting to ride both Grand Tours. Remember he only has a month to recover before the start of the TDF. If he rides he will not be on top form, and he will have stronger opposition than he has had in the Giro. Could be interesting.
Another interesting tid-bit of news emerged today. Switzerland has more than 50 World Sports governing bodies based in its country. The UCI is just one of them. The Swiss Government is investigating corruption in those sport’s governing bodies. Good timing, I hope the UCI is up there on their list.