Ross Tucker at The Science of Sport blog says there have been many villains in the world of sports science this year, but the ongoing, dragged-out doping case of 2010 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is the clear and easy winner, and virtually everyone involved is to blame:
“As for what happens next, I’d bet strongly that Contador will be cleared. That’s partly because I have zero faith in the CAS and I have only revulsion for lawyers who play the system from inside. And those factors together, along with the mountain of technical information they have thrown at this, will, I strongly suspect, see the verdict go in favour of Contador. That will in turn have ramifications for anti-doping. For one thing, it will mean that they may as well take clenbuterol off the banned list, but it will also challenge the concept of strict liability. Whether it would create a legal precedent, I don’t know (the specific details of the case would determine this), but it certainly would leave a bad taste. It already has, thanks to the delays.”
The only other doping case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport that took longer was former American Tour champion Floyd Landis’ appeal of a positive testosterone test. At his hearing last month, Contador was in tears, pleading that the traces of the banned substance clenbuterol were due to eating contaminated meat.
And after that, he pedaled his way to an easy victory in Israel, as he has so many times before. He will learn in mid-January whether he joins Landis as the only other Tour winner to have his title stripped.