Angelo Zomegnan, the director of the Giro d’Italia, has accepted that Alberto Contador can take part in this year’s race but he is not happy that the Spaniard will race sub-judice and could be stripped of victory if he is subsequently found guilty of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Zomegnan reached an agreement with Contador to ride the 2011 Giro d’Italia last spring, before the Spaniard tested positive for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. That early move to ensure Contador’s presence now seems to have backfired.
“The judicial system in sport is slower than that we’d hoped and it’s clear that something is not working because it hasn’t protected our event,” Zomegnan lamented to Tuttobiciweb during the presentation of events that will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification during this year’s Giro d’Italia.
“My hands are tied and I certainly can’t force Contador to stay at home if he and his team want to ride. He’s innocent until proven guilty and a rider cleared in a hearing is free to race. But obviously it’s not an ideal situation.”
UCI President Pat McQuaid and CAS general secretary Matthieu Reeb have both suggested a verdict in the Contador case could be reached before the start of the Tour de France on July 2. However, in a video interview on Tuttobiciweb, Zomegnan suggested the legal battle could drag on until September, meaning Contador could also be allowed to ride the Tour de France in July in the absence of a final ruling.
“I believe it will drag on until September or even longer,” Zomegnan said before sarcastically trying to hide his displeasure.
“All that I can say if he wins the Giro and then is found guilty, is that we’ll be in good company, because it would mean they’ll also take his Tour de France victory off him.”
Contador won the 2008 Giro d’Italia after his Astana team were given a last minute invitation. He won the Volta a Catalunya race on Sunday but has described the 2011 Giro d’Italia as his first important objective of the season.