Cadel Evans Mystified by Alberto Contador Case Delay
Two-time Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans of Team BMC Racing questioned why it took so long to confirm hearing dates in the doping case for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador, who will now be able to compete in the 2011 Tour de France before the case is heard.
Two-time Tour de France runner-up and 2011 Tirreno-Adriatico winner Cadel Evans of Team BMC Racing questioned why it took so long to confirm hearing dates in the doping case for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador, who will now be able to compete in the 2011 Tour de France before the case is heard.
"If he is innocent, well, I hope he is proven innocent. If he is positive, well, he deserves to be punished," Evans was quoted as saying on Wednesday in Australia's Fairfax newspapers. "Why it takes so long I am ... a little bit mystified.
"In our job we get paid more when we go faster, but (with) lawyers, it seems to be the other way round. (But) you have to be sure of these things and to be sure of these things takes time. I would just like a decision, like everyone else."
He made the comments after Contador won the Giro d'Italia last weekend, but before the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Tuesday that it would hear the case from Aug. 1-3, more than a week after the Tour de France finishes. That leaves Contador free to ride in the tour.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are challenging the Spanish cycling federation's decision to clear the three-time Tour champion of doping after he tested positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol last July. A Spanish tribunal accepted Contador's explanation that he inadvertently consumed the substance in contaminated beef.
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said the governing body wanted cycling fans to support the legal process even if it allows Contador to compete in the Tour under circumstances "considered negative."
"We invite everyone to accept this. We know that some people could be a little bit disappointed," he said.
CAS had planned to hear the case June 6-8, aiming to issue a verdict by the end of the month. That would have either exonerated Contador or barred him from starting the Tour on July 2, but the dates were pushed back to give both sides more time to prepare.
Despite the uncertainty over his future, Contador has won a series of stage races this season, including the three-week Giro d'Italia.
Evans, who skipped the Giro d'Italia, was critical of the delays, but said he hopes "justice prevails."
"I don't know why in cycling these things keep happening. Other sports have similar problems but seem to settle them quickly," Evans was quoted as saying in a separate interview with the Geelong Advertiser newspaper. "But in cycling we are going on for nearly 12 months in this situation."
While Contador's presence in this year's Tour de France will lessen the chances of Evans winning cycling's biggest event, he is not concentrating on his rivals.
"I can only look at myself and my team as being in the best form possible to win the Tour de France," he said and concluded "Of course I believe I can win. He's beatable at the Tour de France. Everyone is human."