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McQuaid casts doubt on Contador's Tour de France participation

UCI president Pat McQuaid cast doubt on Alberto Contador’s chances of participating in the 2011 Tour de France. The Spanish rider is currently awaiting a verdict on the adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol he returned at last year’s Tour.

“It’s not a good place for Contador to be at the moment,” McQuaid told Reuters. “We could assume that it’s a possibility that he will not be at the Tour de France.”

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) is currently deliberating on Contador’s case but has apparently asked the UCI and WADA to aid in the decision-making process. However, McQuaid ruled out such a possibility at the weekend and said that he expects a verdict to be reached “by the end of the month”.

Once the RFEC reaches a decision, the matter may then be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), either by Contador, the UCI or WADA, depending on the RFEC’s verdict. McQuaid acknowledged that a lengthy CAS appeal process was possible and that the matter may not be definitively resolved before the Tour.

"It is possibly correct that this is what will happen," he said.

McQuaid also stated that he believes a number of other stars will emerge in 2011 if Contador does indeed face a protracted suspension.

“I am confident that it will be an exciting season," McQuaid said. "There are a lot of guys ready to fill in his [Contador’s] shoes. Well, if not his shoes, the top places. It will be interesting to see the battle for the top spots.

“Several other guys will be looking to move up. In every sport, some big stars have left and the sport has not suffered from it."

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.