And? Contador tests positive four times

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

News in Marca and La Vanguardia that Contador has tested positive four times for Clenbuterol seems to make his case worse.

But that’s not the case. The reducing quantity of the banned substance discovered each day, except for a pick up on the final Sunday, suggests this was simply the Clenbuterol leaving his body. As such the four tests are really one positive test. It doesn’t suggest a big appetite for steak nor does it lend any more credence to the hypothesis of blood doping. It says nothing additional, except a reminder of just how precise the testing lab can be.

If the four tests are grabbing the headlines right now, two bigger elements of the story are being missed, at least by the headlines.

I’ll see you court

First, Contador’s defence team have hired a detective agency to trace the rogue steak. Only the gumshoes have drawn a blank, they can’t find any evidence to support the contaminated steak story. This isn’t to say the hypothesis used by the defence is wrong. But there is no evidence to support it.

Second, Contador is rejecting any notion of a one year ban. The threat of going to the Court for Arbitration in Sport is a risky gambit given the point made above: evidence to support his idea of a contaminated meat source is absent. A lack of evidence means a one year ban might already be seen as lenient, laying siege to the CAS might well see Contador reminded that it’s his duty to provide evidence to reduce a ban rather than hire an armada of advocates.

So we have a situation where despite a lack of new evidence and fresh ideas the case is going to rumble on. Contador is well entitled to appeal but I’d suggest he needs something solid to give to the CAS, otherwise he’s going to end up seriously out of pocket.

For the rest of us, given the time involved of a CAS appeal, it’s quite likely the result of the 2010 Tour de France isn’t settled.

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{ 4 comments }

Twisted SPoke February 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm

What other major sport do you know where the winner of the championship might not even be known for a year? How can you market a sport like that? How do you get sponsors interested in spending millions? The system is a mess and it's killing the sport. Two of the three grand tour podiums for last season still aren't determined! COme on, UCI

TheInnerRing February 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Not to mention all the previous podiums and the shadows here.

Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I hope he goes to CAS and comes away with a 2 year ban.

TheInnerRing February 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Anonymous: I feel that's possible. 2 years, plus the costs of the appeal and even a fine on top.

Of course his lawyers, who bill by the hour, are incentivised to get him to appeal.

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