WADA director Howman respects Contador hearing delay

WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year.

WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year. (Image credit: AFP)

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director-general David Howman has told Cyclingnews that he will respect the CAS decision to grant Alberto Contador more time to prepare for his hearing. The case was due to be held on June 6, 7 but Contador's legal team were granted more time, with a new hearing set to be announced soon. However, a new proposed date could be set for July - during this year's Tour de France - or later in the season.

"The application was made by Contador's lawyers," Howman confirmed to Cyclingnews.

"We didn't object to it and we think that those sorts of things have got to be decided by CAS. They were, and we accept it. You have to accept the process and the right people have to make applications and we abide by the decision. We have to wait now for the hearing."

A new date and the possibility of it clashing with this year's Tour could heap more scandal on the sport. Contador, if found guilty, could lose his 2010 Tour title, as well his recent triumph in the Giro d'Italia and a number of other races won between July 2010 and the present day.

If Contador's hearing is pushed beyond delay and he wins the Tour again, he could lose that title as well.

"We wouldn't comment on that. I can only comment on the facts and we abide by CAS's decision to defer the hearing on the balance of what they heard from Mr Contador's lawyers," Howman continued.

"I think they're going to appoint some news dates and I don't think it will be long before the new dates are known."

Even though it has appealed the decision by the Spanish cycling federation to clear Contador from his charges, WADA is not in a hurry to see Contador banned.

"We don't run cases to 'win', we run cases to make sure that proper justice is done and that the court had the opportunity to hear everything. Once the court makes by a decision we abide by it.

"You have to be to patient, it's regrettable in some circumstances but it's what we agree with. Unfortunately sometimes legal things can get in the way of what you would prefer," he admitted.

Reacting to Contador's claim that his positive test was caused by eating contaminated meat, WADA has already launched its own investigation into the matter. Research is currently being carried out in Asia and Europe, but any findings will not be available for several months.

"We're going to have meetings in the next two or three months with everyone involved in that to see if any approach should be taken. We're not really in a position to comment because we've not accumulated all the data we want or the examiners."

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