Veteran cynics and fans of professional cycling would not be surprised by a rumor that the Court of Arbitration in Sport may delay the date of their Contador ruling by a week or two. Nothing has gone as scripted in this embarrassing and dispiriting mess. Who knew one Spanish steak could paralyze the sport to this degree?
Delays and postponements are a legal speciality at the court in Lausanne, Switzerland. The rumor came from Spanish daily El Mundo, so factor that into your assessment of probability. It’s a major story and the race season hasn’t started yet so wild speculation passes for hard news.
Still, nobody would be surprised if the “un-named sources” were correct. The Contador case has been one delay after another as the sport sinks further and further down in public opinion thanks to unresolved doping issues.
As Twisted Spoke has noted several times, the judges are faced with a Contador legal brief that’s longer than Tolstoy’s Epic War & Peace. On eye strain alone, you’d have to think the three men charged with delivering a verdict are in serious physical discomfort. This is the worst headache in cycling and the Contador case is torture for a judge.
In the meantime, Alberto Contador continues his training and plans his race schedule — what else is he supposed to do? Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis prays daily and hopes his Israeli training camp gambit provides that small tipping point in their favor with the Israeli judge. The UCI and WADA keep their mouth shut — not easy for president Patrick McQuaid — hoping desperately for some resolution.
Put in the bizarre context of cycling justice, the case plods along at the normal glacial speed. It was four or five years after Operacion Puerto that Alejandro Valverde was finally banned for doping. Alessandro Ballan is still waiting for the outcome of the Mantova investigation.
Does anyone really know what happened to Operacion Grail? Italian investigators in Padova supposedly had Alessandro Petacchi in hot water — even the Ale Jet worried his career was over. Nothing came of that and he’ll ride in the Tour Down Under to start another season.
Delays? What’s new?