Spanish federation believe UCI will appeal Contador case

The president of the Spanish federation and his senior legal adviser believe that the UCI will challenge the federation’s decision to overturn the ban imposed on Alberto Contador after the Tour de France champion had tested positive for clenbuterol. The federation’s legal adviser, Luis Sanz, told AS: “We are sure that the UCI is going to challenge Contador’s absolution.”

If the UCI does indeed decide to challenge the decision made by the competitions committee of the Spanish federation to overturn the ban, the case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The case would pit the UCI and perhaps WADA on one side against Contador and the Spanish federation on the other. The CAS would not give its verdict on the case before September.

Federation president Juan Carlos Castaño revealed that he had spoken to UCI president Pat McQuaid in the wake of the Contador decision. “He congratulated us on the work we’d done, but complained about political intervention,” said Castaño. This followed comments made by Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who posted a message on Twitter saying that there was no judicial reason why Contador could be found guilty of doping.

Castaño said the intervention had not affected the decision of the competitions committee, but added: “That indirect interference did seem inopportune to me. The image that it gave abroad was that those declarations did play a role in exonerating him.”

Speaking about the defence that Contador and the federation will have to present if the case does to the CAS, Sanz explained: “We will have to study the weak parts of the decision and Contador’s team will also have to revise their arguments. The whole dossier will have to be strengthened before it is presented… The CAS panel will evaluate all the documentation from zero, and it could ratify the absolution or suspend Contador for one year or two."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).