Admit you weren’t shocked. Nobody could truly say they were surprised the Court for Arbitration in Sport again delayed a verdict on Alberto Contador’s steak con clenbuterol.
Journalists and critics simply forget that a major doping case like this takes time to cover up, then drag to court and finally issue a verdict. That could take years and with all the delays and postponements and missed deadlines, nobody should expect anything speedy out of Switzerland except litter removal.
Still, three explanations are in order:
First, Presiding judge Efraim Barak just got back from a long weekend as a special guest at Bjarne Riis’ winter lodge at Bjergsted Hills. A few days of saunas, vodka shots and winter hikes were invigorating after all that legal crap he’s had to wade through in this silly Contador case. It was nice to sit around the fire at night with Riis and his family looking at the wonderful photos from the recent Saxo training camp in Israel.
Second, Judge Ulrich Haas had to take an unannounced break — at least to the media — in order to deal with the mental exhaustion and eye strain of reading through Contador’s 3,500 page legal submission. He’s under mild sedation at a clinic outside Lausanne and expects to take up his duties shorty. Judges are human beings and it’s a sad commentary on our nasty, contentious world when people forget that judges become ill or crazy or bored stiff. Another delay is nothing in the grand scheme of things –after all the 2010 Tour de France was 18 months ago.
Finally, judge Quentin Byrne-Sutton is finally starting to figure out all this doping science evidence. Really, this stuff is complicated with one expert saying one thing and the other saying just the opposite. It makes your head spin even when you’re a trained lawyer. All the scientists with their graphs and tests and protocols and parameters. They had to tell that WADA doping expert to just zip it — enough is enough. Mentally, Q was confused and needed a few weeks to catch up with his special doping science tutor.
After all, it’s easy to listen to Contador’s teammates testify — there was nothing factual to process, just some nice Tour de France anecdotes and that lie detector export was a hoot because that stuff is inadmissible and has no bearing on the case. But Byrne-Sutton got bogged down — 3,500 pages folks, and that’s not counting the WADA/UCI show — with his cram job on doping science. You try it sometime — it’s like trying to get a PhD in eight weeks.
So quit complaining about all the delays and how it embarrasses the sport and how mismanaged the whole thing is and what a travesty that entire Contador clenbuterol soap opera has become.
Barak is back refreshed from his Denmark mini-vacation with Riis, Haas’ eyesight is returning and his physical exhaustion has passed and the doping science tutor finally has Byrne-Sutton up to speed.
They’re back on the case in that crazy chateau in Lausanne, Switzerland and the gavel is about to drop. Maybe Monday, February 6th but Twisted Spoke can’t say for sure. Just don’t be shocked no matter what happened because the shock wore off back in 2010.