Cycle sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has issued a statement asking fans, media and riders to treat Alberto Contador “like every other rider who takes to the start of the Tour de France”.

The UCI’s statement comes after Contador announced his intention to participate in the 2011 Tour de France in July.

Contador is currently awaiting a hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) relating to a positive test for clenbuterol during last year’s Tour de France, which the Spaniard won.

Contador was cleared of doping charges by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC), resumed competing and won the Giro d’Italia in May. However, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) both filed appeals with CAS against RFEC’s decision to clear Contador.

Many have expressed concerns that Contador should not be currently riding with a doping appeal pending, and the UCI has set out to clarify the issue.

Contador has maintained throughout that clenbuterol entered his system via the consumption of a tainted steak brought to France from Spain by a friend during the Tour. He denies doping.

“Although it is undeniably regrettable that Alberto Contador’s participation in the Tour de France should be in circumstances of such uncertainty, it is nevertheless vital that we make an effort to understand if we are to deal rationally with the situation,” reads the UCI statement.

“As a consequence of his acquittal by the Disciplinary Commission of the Spanish Cycling Federation, Alberto Contador has the statutory right to take part in any competition insofar as he has not been found guilty by the CAS.”

“The UCI Management Committee asks that every sportsman and woman set aside their personal opinions, however valid they may be, and accept this framework, which is the result of a long and rigorous procedure.”

“The UCI, which has always persevered in seeking out the truth, is ready to accept its responsibilities and is also keen to see the swiftest possible conclusion to the matter.”

“Until that time, the UCI Management Committee asks that we respect Alberto Contador’s right to be treated like every other rider who takes the start of the Tour de France.”

The UCI statement concludes with the line “The prestige of the event warrants it, and the dignity of all athletes demands it”. 

The full UCI statement can be found on the organisation’s website.

On Tuesday, it was reported that WADA science director Olivier Rabin mooted the possibility of setting a testing threshold for clenbuterol. On Wednesday, WADA issued a statement saying “at present there is no plan to introduce a threshold level for clenbuterol”. However, WADA did acknowledge that “it is possible that under certain circumstances the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination”.

Currently, any amount of clenbuterol found in an athlete’s sample triggers a positive test. Clenbuterol is not a naturally occurring substance in the human body unlike, for example, testosterone. Clenbuterol can be used to decrease body fat and increase muscle mass.

Related links

Contador confirms taking part in 2011 Tour de France

Alberto Contador: Rider profile

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  • Crazytrucker

    Something stinks about this whole affair, dragging this appeal system on for eternity will not make Contador innocent! And as someone else has wriitten, the UCI and WADA have appealed the innocent verdict so they are less than happy with the result, yet are telling everybody else including his fellow riders to ‘play nice’! Personally, I think he’s guilty as hell, and just look at the mess left behind when it is proven!

  • Mike Birch

    He was found not guilty and the prosecution is appealing, not Contador. I think if it was the other way round (i.e. he was appealing a guilty conviction) then it might be fair to exclude him but he should be allowed to ride. Recently six of mexican football squad failed drugs test due to Clenbuterol contaminated meat. A couple of other cases have already proven this too so i think he has a shot of being cleared. WADA admitting it might change the rules in future is a major mistake if they want to win the case (though a cynic might say they are deliberately leaking this to aid his case for commercial or politcal reasons). The comment about plasticisers is incorrect. WADA admits that there are no tests for this presently and the causes can be easily mistaken (i.e. that a positive might not be caused by a blood bag).

    It’s still a farce that it’s taken a whole year and it’s not resolved though.

  • Steve Rumble

    What a mess, if it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable. There is little doubt that this represents the tip of a very big iceberg in cycling and many other sports. Until the sponsors start pulling out, fear and indecision on the part of the governance of sport will be the norm. All professional sports are huge financial monsters where ethics and moral practice are at best severely compromised.
    I wonder if Contador’s legal team would have taken so long to ‘organise’ their ‘evidence’ if he had been banned until he could prove his innocence.

  • dave w

    a premiership footballer has just been suspended for 3 months for taking a slimming drug why arent wada protesting that? The player concerned took his wifes slimming tablets this makes Contadors excuse seem positively believeable

  • Ken Evans

    Or give every rider in the TDF
    the same tiny amount of Clenbuterol,
    and see who wins then.

    My money is on AC.

  • accyclist

    You’ve got to remember how cunning people are. Contador is probably sitting on a thick pile of revelations about other riders/team leaders etc which he will reveal if he is not exonerated. No doubt there will be a veiled threat that goodness knows what will come out and the powers that be will see his participation in the tour as a necessary evil. So goodness knows what else is lurking.

  • Tom G

    Yet again another shocker from the UCI. Hopefully the UCI officials will get booed at the same time as AC

  • zec2011

    Union of Cheaters International and ASOle proudly present

    Albertenol Clentador

    In

    The Tour de Farce 2011

  • Phil

    If WADA now recognise that a small amount of Clenbuterol can be present in an athletes body due to food contamination then it MUST drop the appeal against the decision by The Spanish Cycling Federation.
    Also, Contador is not awaiting an investigation he has been aquitted by his national federation. The UCI and WADA have decided to lodge an appeal.

  • Brian

    Why so much time is needed to rule on this doping case? Where is the butcher from whom the meat was purchased? Nowhere to be found. Therefore ContaDope is guilty. Period.

  • Ian

    Why is nothing being said about the traces of plasticizers in his sample? Why has he not been questioned about blood transfusions? Other riders are being suspended whilst under suspicion why isn’t AC?

  • Emm

    Good statement by UCI…However I must admit to a 360 turnaround in my opinion of this affair due to the politicizing of it.
    No question Contador is a top rider with awesome ability, no question that he didn’t need clenbuterol to be able to win top races, no question about the miniscule amount found but….
    Why did his the Spanish change their mind over a weekend after a statement by a politician?
    Considering that last Fall Contador & legal team were saying they had a great defense set up , no problem etc. why did they then request a delay in the hearing (wasn’t CAS why requested the delay)
    Why would a rider of Contador’s experience with racing and drug testing show such a huge lack of judgement in requesting a friend to bring him a steak – which of course had not been checked out? And at THE major race of the year?
    My opinion (and it is just that – an opinion) is that he wanted to race the Giro and Tour and win them, thereby adding to his defense of ‘Look I can win without Clenbuterol’
    Also now it has come to light that there are discussions regarding setting a level for Clenbuterol – mayhap this was found out by the AC Team and could also be used?
    I beleive he’s a great rider but why should he be treated any differently than the Chinese rider who received a 2 year suspension for similar (I believe also very minimal abount of clenbuterol.) I think everyone should be treated equally and he was positive for a forbidden substance – I feel he should have last year’s result nullified. Not treated differently just because he is AC.

  • Cavologuardi

    “like every other rider who takes to the start of the Tour de France”… OK, they’re ALL cheats.

  • adam

    What a joke. How can both the UCI and WADA file appeals – thereby indicating that they are not happy with the decision – and then ask everyone else to treat him as innocent?

    Whether Contador is innocent or guilty, he should be suspended, as one would if you were a teacher or policeman, pending investigation and a firm decision.

    The UCI should be disbanded and started over with entirely new staff and an entirely new mandate. The system stinks and having national federations make decisions is so clearly not impartial…. The whole set up needs a clean sweep.