I’ve always wanted to appear on cyclingnews.com, preferably a big article with images of me winning a mountain stage in front of an adoring crowd. Barring a late discovery that I’ve been getting my training very, very wrong that’s never going to happen.
So when the editor of cyclingnews.com got in touch to ask for my opinion on the Contador verdict, I was quick to reply with some thoughts. It required some mental gymnastics to fit so many ideas and issues into just 200 words. But it’s now online over at cyclingnews.com and for the record, here’s what I wrote:
As I write, we don’t know the reasons behind the Spanish federation’s decision to acquit Alberto Contador. Last week’s leaked documents showed the RFEC was minded to impose a one year ban. My immediate question is therefore what happened over the weekend? Did Contador’s defence team find the necessary proof required under the UCI’s Rule #296?
If there’s no proof, then the hypothesis of contaminated steak is just that, a theory. I’ve never understood the certainty Contador attached to the rogue steak explanation. Surely if Clenbuterol was ingested by accident it could equally come via contaminated milk, some ham or a spiked drink?
Far from being the end of the matter, this could well go beyond cycling, the Tour de France and Spain. Because if there’s no proof where the Clenbuterol came from, then it marks a fundamental rejection of the WADA Code and its principle of “strict liability”. The internationally accepted set of rules are being ignored and it’ll be interesting to see what the UCI, WADA and even the IOC do next.
This is cycling’s version of the OJ Simpson verdict. Everyone expected a conviction, suddenly Contador’s in the clear. After six months of investigation there are still more questions than answers.