AP have uncovered that WADA’s lawyers came close to walking out of Alberto Contador’s CAS hearing last November. The hearing, which took place over several days was set up to determine whether Contador had doped during the 2010 Tour de France after traces of clenbuterol were found in his system. The final ruling from CAS’ three-man panel is due to be announced next week but the apparent walkout stemmed from one of WADA’s key witnesses being denied oral testimony.
“Hearing participants said Ashenden, if allowed, could have expanded on the theory that Contador may have had a blood transfusion on July 20, followed the next day by an injection of blood plasma,” AP reported.
Contador was, however, allowed to give a 15 minute statement during the hearing, in which he resolutely denied taking performance enhancing drugs, claiming that the clenbuterol traces came from eating tainted meat. Present and former teammates were also allowed to give evidence on Contador's behalf.
Contador’s lawyers objected to Ashenden’s testimony and CAS appear to have held Ashenden back on the basis that he may have gone into further detail on explaining how the traces of clenbuterol may have been linked to a possible blood transfusion, although no test for such measure has been ratified by the WADA code. Cyclingnews attempted to contact Ashenden but he was unavailable for comment.
AP added that, “Contador's lawyers argued that if he transfused, clenbuterol and plastic residues would have appeared together in his July 21 sample and because they didn't, the transfusion scenario was impossible.”
According to AP the chamber was then emptied, before the CAS panel discussed their options, eventually allowing WADA only to cross-examine Contador’s hand-picked expert on doping, Paul Scott.
This led to a talk of a ‘walkout’ before WADA’s lawyers decided on a written complaint. AP also reports that if Contador is cleared, this written complaint could form part of an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
If found guilty, the three time Tour de France winner could find himself landed with a two-year suspension, and lose his 2010 Tour title.
Earlier this week CAS were left defending themselves after allegations made regarding the fairness of their hearing over Contador. They denied that Israeli judge Ephraim Barak will be influenced in his decision in the Alberto Contador case by the fact that Team Saxo Bank held its training camp in Israel last month.