CAS postpones Contador ruling. Spaniard free to ride Tour de France.

Prudhomme has to make call on Contador.

ASO head man Christian Prudhomme has a screaming migraine headache.

He woke up this morning feeling fine but then received the terrible news that the Court for Glacial Arbitration in Sport is postponing the Contador case.

Prudhomme knew what that meant in a millisecond: the tainted winner of the 2010 tour, who failed a rest day doping test, the guy that likes a little clenbuterol on his steak, is now free to ride this year’s Tour de France.

In reacting to the disturbing events, Prudhomme appeared to be in shock and denial: “We are surprised because the CAS had repeatedly declared that the decision would be made before the start,” he said. “We can only repeat what we said since the fall: we expect a response before the Tour.” Expect all you want but that bateau has already sailed.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Both Contador and the UCI had agreed that it was imperative to get this settled before the Tour de France. It was bad enough the Spaniard was riding (and winning) the Giro d’Italia but the hope of all cycling fans was for a verdict before July 2nd.

According to news reports, it was Contador’s legal team that requested the delay in order to bring additional evidence to the table. Why they’re still in the information gathering stage after almost a year is a surprise and a disappointment. Why the UCI agreed to the postponement is another question yet to be answered.

Between the embarrassing Landis-Hamilton-Armstrong saga and the embarrassing Contador case, the sport of cycling has two black eyes. There’s no date set for the resolution of either debacle. We’re getting that Operacion Puerto feeling all over again.

It’s a huge headache for everyone involved but nobody is in more pain than Mr. Prudhomme. Because now, with the CAS postponement, he has to decide which risk he prefers. He’s caught between a rock and a Contador.

First bad scenario: keep Contador in the tour with the possibility that he wins again only to have CAS rule against him and lose both the 2010 and 2011 titles. A Prudhomme nightmare.

Second bad scenario: Prudhomme feels compelled to protect the image of the tour by taking back Contador’s invitation but leaving himself open to a firestorm of criticism if Alberto is later cleared by CAS.

That’s a migraine no matter which way he decides to go. It’s all on Christian Prudhomme now. He’s taken seven aspirin, turned off all the lights and crawled back into bed.

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  • Henkio

    The hearing is delayed because Contadors legal team brought in more evidence than the CAS could process before the initial date.

    This is a brilliant move. Valverde got the choice to have his ban with immediate effect or dated back to January 1st and lose everything he won since that date. Valverde chose the backdated ban but AC obviously wouldn't.

    Contador has already been suspended for a little while. If his lawyers can get the hearing in August and he's banned for 1 year (which I think will happen), he might get the Valverde option. In that case he would be able to keep his Giro title and possible Tour 2011 title. With the time already served taken of the 1 year ban he'd be back in time for Tour 2012.

    Great strategy.

    But I'm guessing you're not joining the 'Free AC' movement, Matt? :)

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      I don't really have a solid position on Contador's guilt or innocence but I lean toward guilty — especially with the plasticizer test. And my feeling is the UCI had strict rules on clenbuterol levels and Alberto failed that test. Those levels may be super low and of no performance enhancing value and they may have gotten in his system intentionally or not. Doesn't matter. The rule is the rule until they change it. So my feeling is he should get a ban and if I got an up-close view of all the evidence I might decide it wasn't intentional and give him a shorter ban because of that. Matt

      • Brad

        Oh come on now. Everything you write about Contador betrays your postion. Of course you think he's a doper and should be banned. You also like to bring up the plasticizer test, but as many others, you give no hint that you really know anything about plastics, their material processes, or their chemical properties. Somebody wrote that plasticizers were present in sample, so you instinctively parrot the purely hypothetical theory. The only thing you or I know for sure is: he tested positive for an banned substance, where the concentration was orders of magnitude below any performance enhancing threshold. The only arguable point based on actual facts is whether you think rule is fair.

      • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

        Brad, it's probably not fair. But even Bicycling Magazine's Joe Lindsey, the super well-respected writer of the Boulder Report, said "them's the rules." Meaning until that rule is changed, he broke it and should recieve a suspension. Now he might yet prove it was unintentional and that is very possible, but the rule doesn't make that distinction on intent. If it's there, you're in trouble. Matt

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heidi-Marie-Moser/1684263326 Heidi Marie Moser

    Bad news all around. Seems like more cycling wins are being decided in court these days than on the road=not the way it should be. :-(

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      I feel sorry for the Tour de France organizers. It's just inexcusable that this sport takes over a year to rule on Contador. Matt

      • Jason Crawford

        I think we should mostly feel sorry for the 2nd place rider. By having AC in the tour without having a decision is completely disrespectful to all other riders. Imagine Andy Schleck being announced the winner of the tour one year later. Would he even care at this point? Who wants to have a win with and "*".

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    I hope Prudome just keeps him out of the Tour for not buying French Beef, why can't he raise a BS excuse like the other side?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Now that's just plain brilliant as justifications go. If I had Prudhomme's email address, I'd send him your plan right now.Matt

  • Goober B. Davis

    Cycling is an utter joke of a sport. Its as fixed as WWF wrestling or jailai.

    I am done with watching it. Contador's team has found a way for him to ride dirty and still displace riders from their rightful wins.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      We'll just have to wait and see how the court rules. Hope you're not in a hurry. Matt

  • Ron

    "Cycling is an utter joke of a sport"……yea, and all other prop sports are squeeky clean. Not too long ago a pro tennis match announced they would conduct drug test and the players said if this happened they would refuse to play, so the tests were canceled. American foot ball players have had names like "refrigerator" not because they are so cool but because they are twice the size of normal human beings. And I hate to bring it up again, but in Operation Porto there was evidence found against tennis players, European footballers and cyclists……..but only the cyclists were pursued. Pro cycling is the convenient whipping boy because it dosent generate much money and has a much smaller fan base than the big pro sports…….another reason why I love it!!!