Alberto Contador’s four-day hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over his positive for clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour finished today (Thursday), with a verdict in the case expected some time early in the New Year.

Neither Contador, nor the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – who appealed to CAS when Contador was cleared of doping by his Federation in February – have shifted from their initial positions during the hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The UCI and WADA believe Contador deserves a ban of up to two years for doping, and Contador claims the positive was due to his eating a contaminated steak and that he should go clear.

Contador – unusually for athletes – has been present throughout the hearing, which ended with a 15-minute personal appeal by the Spaniard in defence of his case. However, Contador – who was cross-examined on Wednesday – did not make any comments to the press when he left the CAS building on Thursday afternoon, and neither did WADA and the UCI’s lawyers.

Quite apart from the immense complexity of the legal arguments on both sides, Contador v. the UCI/WADA will also be remembered as the second longest in CAS history. Only deposed 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis’s defence of his positive for testosterone took longer.

But despite the length, this week almost nothing has emerged of the case itself, which has involved some 20 witnesses.

These have included lawyers, polygraph [lie detector] experts, biological passport experts, nutritionists, livestock association representatives and three former Astana riders – Contador, Benjamin Noval and Paolo Tiralongo – all of whom were in the Tour hotel the night Contador ate the steak he claims contained the clenbuterol.

One witness called by the UCI was Michael Ashenden, an Australian scientist, believed to have analysed results from Contador’s blood tests, and another was Hans Geyer from the Cologne laboratory that found the minute quantities of clenbuterol in Contador’s urine samples.

Although there are unconfirmed rumours that the interested parties may be informed of the verdict, but not the detailed legal explanation, as soon as in five days time, the official publication of the verdict is due in January.

An appeal to the Swiss federal Courts against the verdict by both sides is possible, but has rarely proved successful: in just under three decades, only three cases have been returned by the courts to CAS for further review.

Related links

Contador clenbuterol case gets underway

Alberto Contador’s clenbuterol case in brief

  • Jim

    Easy to assume guilt. I think he did consume tainted meat. WADA & UCI are not the cleanest of organizations that exist. Corruption can be present in anything, and I think it’s alive and well in cycling. McQuaid paid by Lance, case in point.

  • Mike

    Yes.
    I seem to recal a Mr Landis vehemently proclaiming his innocence for years, and even setting up a website to raise cash for his defence. He eventually saw sense and came clean (to coin a phrase) but think on how much fuss he made about being innocent.

  • Hersh

    The more vehemently Contador denies doping and the more complicated the legal arguments get the more dubious I become that he isn’t guilty. He probably even believes he is innocent, having said it so many times. I think the truth is that he was doping, switched his blood to hide it and made an error. The UCI and WADA are certain also, which is why they won’t let go. If found guilty, he should be banned for the maximum time allowed to really drive home that cheats will be caught and punished.

  • Mike

    Paul.
    Its not the level in the sample that would have given him the advantage, Its the fact it was there in the first place.
    Put that alongside the plasticiser that was also in the sample and it sugests what was in the sample was probably the residue from an illegal blood transfusion.
    He was probably using clenbutarol during training to help him shed weight for the Tour. His blood is taken then, for a future transfusion.
    Hey presto, It shows up during the Tour.

  • paul

    Its clear that none of us can really comment without being able to see all the facts, and Contador has probably been advised to stay quiet on the press front.
    But the extremely slim chances of the drug being from a consumed steak are well documented.
    From what I’ve read about the drug, and the level they found in him, its hard to imagine any real performance advantage, and I’m fairly sure he’d have won all these Tours anyway, but that’s not saying that he isn’t a cheat.
    Because basically he was found with a banned substance in his blood and has a pitiful excuse for it really.

  • Richard Nicholls

    Why in heavens name is it going to take until the New Year to reach a verdict? If this were a court it’d be sorted in days at most.

    Totally ridiculous and very unfair to both Alberto (despite what folks think of him) and the cycling fans that want to know.

    This whole process has been nothing but a comedy of errors.

    Rich