Painful Times in Front of Us

News & Results

01/16/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Painful Times in Front of Us

What will be the repercussions of the Ullrich and Contador cases?

What will be the repercussions of the Ullrich and Contador cases?

The ongoing and seemingly never ending doping cases in pro road cycling make me wonder what the end result of all this will be.

First off we have the Jan Ullrich case. Just a quick recap for those who might have forgotten - back in 2006 Ullrich was implicated in the Operation Puerto sting. Bags of his blood were found, which is never a good thing. The implication being that he was transfusing his own, now turbo charged hemoglobin. Ullrich was tossed from his team and he retired. But like a battery sucking app on your smartphone, the case continued to churn along in the background. So after almost six years the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is expected to finally make a ruling this week!

Regardless of the ruling it doesn't make a difference to the 1997 Tour de France winner. He's retired with no comeback planned and now riding the Gran Fondo circuit. His agent has stated regardless of CAS ruling there won't be any interviews or television appearances.

While personally there are no repercussions that will affect Ullrich, what CAS and the UCI have shown is that they will continue to proceed with doping cases, regardless if the athlete in question has retired or not. This prevents an athlete from avoiding any prosecution by retiring, the investigation stopping, but the rider makes a "comeback" and picks up where they left off, a la Alexander Vinokourov.

The Kazakhstan rider was popped at the 2007 Tour de France but was slapped on the wrist by his own national cycling federation, issuing him only a one-year ban. Naturally this upset the UCI which would have liked a two-year ban. However, Vino said he was retiring, so there didn't seem to be a point in pursuing litigation if he was truly done with professional cycling. But surprise! He returned!

CAS had to restart their case against him and Vino didn't return to racing until August of 2009 - but this stop and start by the UCI didn't do the governing body any favors. It just made them appear unprepared.

This Ullrich ruling, regardless of the decision, has created a precedent that no matter what, the accused athlete will be brought before CAS or at least sanctioned by their own national federation.

Next we have Alberto Contador. We have been teased for months that a decision from CAS was coming soon, then it was postponed. Then it was postponed again. Then we were told January was the month and specifically this week. Then it was announced that due to the pesky media and their reporting on the case a ruling has been delayed again!

I know what you're thinking, how is the media responsible for the delay? In a press release CAS stated that because the media was "all up in our business" (okay - not a direct quote - that's my own interpretation) regarding the arbitration panel, specifically the Israeli judge, it's going to make a ruling at the end of

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