How many pages before we have an answer?
News that the Court of Glacial Arbitration in Sports has postponed the Contador hearing until August 1st through 3rd put us in an instant froth. Almost like we’d gobbled too much synthetic testosterone.
The way we read this is that since his original failed Tour de France doping test in July, Contador’s lawyers have had about ten months to prove his innocence. That seems like a more than generous chunk of time for information-gathering and case-building. In fact, his legal team presented over 600 pages of evidence at his hearing.
Now apparently that was more than enough pages to convince the Spanish Cycling Federation to absolve him. Maybe he didn’t even need evidence once the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said El Pistolero should go free. Wait, it’s all coming together: tainted stake, prime cut, prime minster.
But in this case, ten months isn’t enough and 600 pages just feels a little short. Can’t go to Lausanne, Switzerland and tangle with the UCI and WADA with such a paltry sum. Nothing worse than being out-paged by Pat McQuaid and his people.
No, Contador’s legal team now requires a full year to prove he should not be sanctioned. (What exactly did they miss in the first ten months?) They’ve decided that some serious addition is in order — make it 800 pages, no, an even 1000 pages just to make sure.
By the time Contador finally makes it to court, he’ll have more pages of evidence than the measly 940 in Miguel Cervantes’ famous novel Don Quixote. Yes, Sancho Panza would be impressed. What began as a steak and clenbuterol dinner is now truly aged beef.
In fact, you could say the story is reaching biblical proportions. Even counting both old and new testament, the good book runs about 1,281 pages and lawyers for the embattled Spaniard are already half way there. All that’s required is just one more push back on dates and even God will be impressed.
It’s an interesting legal tactic: if you can confuse judges with a thousand pages of evidence, maybe they’d just throw up their hands and let him go. Just too much reading, too much eye strain. You turn the trial into an endurance event and wear everyone down. It’s like a brutal legal Giro d’Italia — too many mountains of evidence.
And so the Giro is over and done and Contador is the victor. Next up, the Tour de France, which still can’t say with certainly who won the last one. The possibility of stripping Contador of not one, but two Tour titles would bring us back to the dark days of Festina and Operacion Puerto.
Nobody wants that, from the sports governing body to the fans along side the road. Yet the story drags on and the book gets thicker and thicker. Cadel Evans nailed it better than anyone: ‘In our job we get paid more when we go faster but [with] lawyers, it seems to be the other way round.”
How many pages before we reach the end?