Frank Schleck Faces Two Year Ban

Frank Schleck

A few points to clear up over the Frank Schleck case after the news today the B-sample is also positive. I’ve had questions by email and Twitter and it’s easier to respond here to avoid duplication and I have more than 140 characters available.

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UCI President Mistaken Over USADA Case

I’ve read what they’ve said but as they’re not licence holders so I don’t know how they can ban them or what they can be banned for

From the UCI’s point of view we can’t see how these guys can be sanctioned for life,” said McQuaid. “They are not UCI licence holders, so under what grounds can they be sanctioned?

Those are the words of the Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI. The first quote is after speaking to, the second is after speaking to Velonews. He was commenting today on the lifetime ban issued by the US Anti-Doping Agency to Luis Garcia del Moral, Michele Ferrari and Jose “Pepe” Martí, all three staff or helpers of the US Postal Cycling team.

Only President McQuaid needs to check the UCI rulebook . The anti-doping code applies to all licence holders, that is obvious. But Article 18 says it applies to all team staff as well, even if they have no team licence. So there are good grounds for the UCI to apply USADA’s ban worldwide.

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USPS Conspiracy Loose Ends

There are still unexploded bombs from World War Two. Every now and then one is discovered buried deep in the ground, often during construction work. Residents are evacuated, a security cordon is put in place, a military bomb squad arrives to defuse the defunct device and within a day or two construction work resumes.

Cycling has its buried bombs too. An axis of deceit carpet-bombed European roads, bridges and mountain passes with syringes and vials some of which are only blowing up today. Yesterday’s explosive stories about Lance Armstrong and others involved in the squad that went from US Postal to Radioshack was just one example. Only headlines and text got sometimes warped by the shock. Here’s a quick look at a few of the issues.

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Game over for Super Mario?

You almost have to check that it’s not 1 April with this morning’s news that Mario Cipollini is talking of a comeback in order to help young sprinter Andrea Guardini in the Giro. Nevermind that Cipollini is 45, nor that he’s weighing 90 kilo – no flab, extra muscle we are assured – there’s a simple reason why he can’t ride the Giro this year: the UCI rulebook.

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In praise of the CAS (and why the Ullrich case took years)

The Court for Arbitration in Sport has had a busy week. Monday saw it ruling on Alberto Contador, the UCI and Alexander Kolobnev were there on Tuesday and yesterday we got the verdict on Jan Ullrich.

Many fans have expressed anger or frustration with the news this week but a quick note to say don’t blame the CAS.

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New UCI doping penalty under threat

If Alberto Contador has problems today he’s going to find it hard to look forward to the future. In a press conference on Tuesday, Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis said he would “support” Contador… but added the Spaniard’s contract was now void. Reading between the lines, Contador won’t get paid during his ban but Riis hopes to employ him again the moment the ban ends.

His employment woes aren’t just about getting a monthly salary or finding a team. Upon his return he will find a new UCI rule blocks him from earning crucial ranking points for his squad. This matters because his points haul made the difference between Saxo Bank being in the Pro Tour for 2012 and being in the lesser Pro Conti level.

But this new UCI ruling could well fall foul of WADA and the CAS.

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Why is the Contador case taking so long?

Yesterday The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it will deliver its verdict in two weeks’ time. The news of an additional delay prompted wisecracks like needing a geologist to measure the time taken and apparently the CAS is still chewing over an appeal from the Macedonians to settle the javelin competition from the 776BC Olympiad.

But it’s no joke that Contador tested positive for clenbuterol 545 days ago. Why is this so long? Here’s a timeline of events. By my reckoning, everyone involved has delayed and maximised the time taken.

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UCI to appeal verdict over Alex Rasmussen

The UCI is to appeal the Danish verdict that cleared Alex Rasmussen of a doping ban after three no shows. I groaned when I heard the news as it appears Rasmussen has a solid case. But thinking about it, perhaps some good can come of this appeal?

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BOA vs. WADA (both are right)

The British Olympic Association (BOA) is locked in a fight with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). I wanted to cover this story earlier in the week but there’s been too much other news to fit it in.

In case you’ve missed it, the BOA has a rule saying anyone banned for doping forfeits the right to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games. But WADA say the ban for a doping offence is two years and that the BOA, in adding an effective life ban, goes beyond this. Consequently WADA has declared Britain a “non-compliant nation”. An embarrassment given the country is set to host the Olympics in 2012.

The risk though is that in seeking to punish British dopers WADA and international efforts to tackle doping are underminded .

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Contador’s Rashomon appeal

I keep wanting to do an update on the Contador case ahead of the appeal hearing but the date keeps changing. Now the verdict is expected in January says the Court of Arbitration for Sport:

The hearing will take place in Lausanne from 21 November 2011 at 12:00 to 24 November 2011… …The CAS will issue its decision with reasons as soon as possible but probably not sooner than several weeks following the completion of the hearing. The hearing in this matter was supposed to take place in June 2011 but, at the request of all parties, was postponed to August 2011 and finally to November 2011.

We’re now at the stage where every party in the case has played for time. The UCI sat on the positive test and filed its appeal at the last possible moment. WADA also waited. The Spanish federation, the RFEC, went further and took longer than the rules stipulate to process the case. Contador’s defence team has asked for a postponement of the appeal hearing. And now the CAS will sit soon but it is said there will be no verdict until January 2012.

I welcome a thorough process but the longer things go on the more we see how complex this case is. I wonder if we’ll ever get to the truth of if the appeal will weigh up likely stories and side with the most probable outcome?

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