The news that the Spanish federation cleared Contador in the absence of proof is a confirmation that the existing rules were cast aside. The principle of “strict liability” has been abandoned, instead the RFEC says:
“The minimal amount detected could not presume an improvement in sporting performance…
…This brings us to the conclusion that with a high degree of probability the positive detected was a consequence of the consumption of contaminated meat, an act which cannot be assumed or considered as negligent conduct.”
So there we have it. First the rule that any quantity of Clebuterol is an offence and second the rogue steak hypothesis is accepted. As I said yesterday, accidental ingestion is a possibility but why the insistence on steak, as opposed to a spiked drink or contaminated milk?
The UCI has said it is waiting for the relevant documents and has 30 days upon receipt to act. WADA has a further three weeks on top of the UCI, meaning 51 days or early April. Any hearing would then have to be booked and then heard, a process than typically takes 2-4 months. But it could take longer, the investigation into last July has lasted far longer than usual as the UCI wanted to take particular care. Similarly the case of Franco Pellizzotti and his bio passport data is taking a long time as WADA and the UCI want to put their best case.
The RFEC’s decision overthrows the fundamental rules that underpin the anti-doping rules. WADA won’t stand for this and the questions raised by the RFEC have to be tested in court. We cannot say Contador was doping or not but I think it’s fair to say this case is going straight to an appeal with the CAS. It’s time to make a provisional booking. I suspect the UCI has the CAS on speed-dial.