Hola, los disgruntled cycling fans.
Unsurprising news that a verdict in the Contador case might be delayed until February takes us back to a place we’ve been before. A murky, frustrating locale where resolution is glacial and only lawyers are happy. (It’s sort of like the Waiting Room in the Dr Suess book, Oh The Places You’ll Go.)
It’s that place in Spain we call ValverdeLand, named in honor of the doped rider from Murcia who middle-fingered the UCI and WADA for four years, winning dozens of big races and the 2009 Vuelta while under a dark cloud of suspicion. The only organization capable of beating the Spaniard at his stall game was the Italian Olympic Committee.
Alberto Contador is the second coming of Alejandro Valverde. We’re back in Spain again where the wheels of justice are rusted and in serious need of mechanical overhaul. Even the nicknames are similar: El Pistolero meets the Green Bullet. Both are also losing their hair — a comic side effect of the stress of the drawn out investigations.
According the the Spanish daily newspaper AS, the sheer number and complexity of the legal documents are just too much for the Spanish Federation to deal with until February. Proof positive that it’s not easy to digest contaminated meat. (Did Contador go for the jumbo size 20 oz steak?)
The UCI and WADA are on record promising to be on the first jet to the Court of Arbitration in Sport In Lusanne, Switerzerland if the Spain ruling isn’t to their liking. That means appeal and counter appeals, motions and counter motions, delays followed by postponements followed by more delays.
Welcome to ValverdeLand. As cyclingnews noted, CAS takes up to six months to deliver a ruling so that puts us into August, a month after the 2011 Tour de France has concluded. Will Contador be allowed to defend his title? Will ASO, the organization that runs the Tour, invite Alberto and Saxo Bank to their three week party if he’s still in Dopers Purgatory? Will UCI president Pat “hot air” McQuaid froth at the mouth for the next six months? All questions that have no answer as yet. Contador conundrums.
Valverde and the ugly, nearly endless aftermath of Operacion Puerto was a black eye for the sport of cycling. What are the ramifications if the biggest star is embroiled in a long, nasty legal battle for the entire 2011 season? Answer: bad.