Tue, Feb 7, 6:00pm by Kevin Pitstock
The Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador has chosen not to retire from the sport, despite being hit with a 2 year ban as well as being stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) banned Contador in 2010 for an alleged doping violation at the 2010 Tour. Alberto Contador’s suspension is in force through to August 6 2012, meaning the cyclist has been stripped of his 2010 Tour victory and will be unable to take part in this year’s Tour De France and the 2012 London Olympic games.
The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) cleared Contador of taking the anabolic agent clenbuterol in Feb 2011 even though he tested positive, prompting the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration.
Australia’s Olympic team chief Nick Green used this sentence as a warning, choosing to take a hardline stance on doping within sports, especially in the run up to the London Olympics, by saying “We know that these will be a Games where athletes will be rigorously tested and if you’re contemplating trying to beat the system I’m confident you’ll get caught.”
A harsh reaction to an unfortunate ban perhaps, as Contador claimed that he had ingested the banned substance by eating contaminated steak. This explanation satisfied the RFEC but failed to convince the UCI and WADA.
Although Contador has refused to comment on the situation so far, his brother Francisco was recently quoted by the website of Spanish radio station Cadena Cope saying “Alberto is clear about that, and he will not quit cycling.”
It must be a tough time for Alberto right now, as beside being striped of his 2010 Tour de France title, the ban verdict also means that he is stripped of all his other wins in 2011, which include the Giro d’Italia.
This ruling does not add any credibility to the already heavily critiqued sport of cycling, which has been haunted by doping offences over the last 15 years. The Tour de France in particular, as it is the toughest, best known and most prestigious cycle race in the world.
Alberto Contador has been given a 30 days appeal period with the Swiss Federal Court, though there has been no reaction so far from the cyclist.
Aussie Olympic team chief Nick Green, talking about the upcoming Olympics games “I’d hope there’s enough deterrent in place for anyone who’s considering [doping] to think again.
“The testing procedures are becoming appropriately more advanced to catch out anyone trying to beat the system.”
Professional athletes will do well to heed his warning in the run up to the Olympics, as 150+ scientists will be performing upwards of 400 tests a day during the Olympics and Paralympics, operating around the clock within a new state-of-the-art doping laboratory just outside London.
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