Following the Court of Arbitration's decision to suspend Alberto Contador for two years for his 2010 Tour de France clenbuterol positive, a number of reactions within the world of cycling have been issued. In France, the verdict has been widely welcomed but some criticism has also been voiced as regards to the lengthy jurisdiction procedure and the start date of Contador's ban.
The director of the Tour de France, ASO's Christian Prudhomme, was relieved that a verdict had finally been issued. But at the same time, he deplored that the process had taken too long and called for solutions to obtain swifter jurisdiction.
"Finally the verdict has arrived after 565 days of waiting. This has been too long. In future, the lapse of time between the sporting justice and the media diffusion has to be shorter - this will be absolutely essential," he told L'Equipe TV.
"In the meantime, Contador continued to race. He raced everywhere: in Spain, Portugal, in Italy where he won the Giro, in Belgium, in France, in Argentina where he won two stages at the Tour de San Luis only a few days ago. Even if sports justice must be serene and even if this case was extraordinarily complex, it is necessary that decisions in this sort of case should be made more rapidly."
Laurent Jalabert, a cycling champion during his time and now commentator for French television, spoke of a "right" decision. "The sanction applies to a positive doping control. There was a presumption of innocence, then Contador's dossier was examined for a very long time - too long even - and finally the instances decided that it could not be upheld. So the two-year sanction seems just to me," he told RTL.
"An athlete is responsible of his actions, he is meant to know the rules and be responsible of what he ingests. I'm not saying that Contador is a cheater, he is even a rider whom I appreciate. But this doesn't exclude that he may have made a mistake and that's his responsibility today."
Moreover, Jalabert deplored that the ban was retrospective. "During these two years, Contador raced. And he won, a lot. He beat riders who may have a clear conscience and who are harmed today by all of this, because they lost races. All those who finished second behind Contador will be feeling really frustrated - they might even feel they've been stolen their victories, as they really deserved to win."
Cofidis manager Eric Boyer also welcomed the ban, and went even further. He called for Contador to admit his mistake in order to restore his credibility and truly support the fight against doing in the sport.
"Eighteen months of investigations to come to this result - this may be too long but it also shows that it's serious," Boyer told L'Equipe. "CAS weighed the pros and cons, took into account the experts' analyses and finally deemed that he administered himself Clenbuterol. As a consequence, he tried to cheat. He cheated, he doped. He won having doped.
"I hope that Contador will not come back and that he will make amends honourably. That he will become aware of his actions, that he explains how he came to do it and that he liberates his conscience."
The Frenchman continued by demanding that the investigation be continued to identify the backers and organisers of Contador's illicit practices.
"I would like to see investigations take place to find out who made it possible for him to dope. There are ill-intentioned people who helped him to get (the clenbuterol). I don't know if they can be found but they have to be sought, because it's them who damage the sport most."