|Loaded, and taking aim at the UCI?
It’s an idea relayed by the Carrément Vélo podcast where pundit Nicolas Perthuis mentions a conversation with FDJ team boss Marc Madiot. According to Madiot, the UCI is currently evaluating whether it can afford to prosecute Contador and if it can withstand any appeals made by the Spaniard’s substantial legal team.
This could well be a factor that explains the length of time being taken over the matter. It is worth exploring, even if it means speculating about Contador’s future.
The UCI’s accounts already show substantial provisions for litigation, in other words the UCI sets aside money each year in reserve to cover days in court and any adverse judgments. Only last week we saw Franco Pellizotti announcing he wants to sue the UCI for millions and as the Real Peloton podcast noted, cycling-related cases certainly seem to keep the CAS busy.
But with Contador the
steaks stakes are much higher, something the UCI’s Pat McQuaid seems to acknowledge:
“We don’t treat him differently than the others, but let’s be honest, the fact that it was Alberto Contador means that we have to be certain we take the right decision”
Any ban of Contador is going to result in a big loss of earnings, a giant dent to his reputation and more. These things are measured in millions of Euros, perhaps tens of millions. Viewed against this, hiring an army of lawyers to lay siege to the UCI is almost small change. Especially since the presence of Clenbuterol can be explained by a variety of reasons and there are different case histories here. This isn’t a caught red-handed moment.
Of course it goes without saying that Contador must be allowed a fair hearing and were he to be punished then an appeal is his right. Nevertheless, we’ve seen past attempts to exhaust every possible legal avenue only for the athlete to later admit guilt. It cannot be the case that one side is allowed to outbid the other, this must be a matter of justice and not financial firepower. Note this argument works both ways.
WADA to the rescue?
It is reasonable to assume that if WADA were to lend its support to an eventual prosecution of Contador then it will also be willing to support any excessive legal fees involved in standing by this judgement.