Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has said that there were no winners in the Alberto Contador clenbuterol case, which saw the Spaniard stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and suspended for two years after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a joint appeal from WADA and the UCI on the matter earlier this month.
“Everybody has lost: the Tour, Contador, his adversaries and the people, because so many events with Contador took place while they were deliberating on his case,” Prudhomme told Le Soir.
Prudhomme was reluctant to give his opinion on the validity of the CAS verdict, but reiterated his disappointment at the length of time it took to reach a decision. He believes that in future, the timeframe of any appeals process should be reduced.
“I can’t talk about it too much, because it’s not up to me to give my opinion on the good or the bad side of this judgement,” he said. “I maintain that a verdict was given, but far too late. In the world of sport, it’s necessary to find much quicker and more efficient ways so as not to envelope our events in latent suspicion.
“I’m not against the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but perhaps it might be better to have a first instance CAS, which would decide rapidly but at the same time without neglecting the serenity with which a decision like that must be taken.”
Looking ahead to the 2012 Tour, Prudhomme acknowledged that Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck will be to the fore in a race that will see the overall contenders tested from the opening exchanges in Belgium.
“They will be two key players on a route designed to make the race start early,” he said. “After the prologue in Liège, the Seraing stage is already going to mobilise the best riders before a stage for the sprinters at Tournai and a spectacular finale at Boulogne. All of the favourites will have to be attentive from the start. As I often say, the Tour will be a classic every day.”