UCI President Pat McQuaid Criticizes Spanish Prime Minister Over Alberto Contador Support
UCI president Pat McQuaid has criticised Spanish politicians over their pledges of support for three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador during Contador's battle to prove his innocence after a failed doping test.
UCI president Pat McQuaid has criticised Spanish politicians over their pledges of support for Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-SunGard) during the rider's battle to prove his innocence after a failed doping test.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was one of several politicians who backed Contador before Spain's cycling federation (RFEC) exonerated him, saying on the government's Twitter feed there was no legal basis to punish the rider.
"It's up to sport to police itself and sport should be allowed to do that," McQuaid told reporters at the start of stage two of the Tour of Oman on Wednesday.
"I don't think (the process) should be interfered with by politicians when they don't know the full facts of the case and when they make statements that are purely political statements."
Asked if he was disappointed by the politicial pressure in Spain in favour of Alberto Contador, McQuaid said: "Yes. It's unwarranted. It doesn't help the image of Spain either.
"It shows they're biased towards supporting their own regardless of what the facts of the case might be."
Spaniard Contador is free to compete again after the RFEC on Tuesday reversed a preliminary decision to ban him for one year.
However, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could yet appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
McQuaid would not be drawn on whether the UCI planned to appeal but said they had already been in discussions with WADA about the RFEC decision. The UCI is reportedly studying the case files from RFEC intensively.
"We got another 35 pages on the case yesterday from the Spanish federation, we'll then discuss this with WADA, and we've got to get the whole case file before we reach a decision (on whether to appeal) within the next 30 days.
"Let's wait for the final outcome. It's possible we may not appeal. We have to see the full dossier and get it translated.
"I would hope and be fairly confident it will all be sorted out before the next Tour de France (in July)."
McQuaid has been sharply critical of Spain's record on catching dope cheats.
Asked whether he thought the nation's attitude had improved, he said: "I don't think so, not yet."
He said he had not talked to Contador about the case since the federation's decision was published and he had not spoken with him since last September.
Contador had been banned since August after testing positive for a small amount of the anabolic agent clenbuterol on his way to victory in last year's Tour, his third win in the sport's most important race.
The 28-year-old always denied wrongdoing, saying the failed test was due to contaminated meat.
Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi yesterday reported that the acquittal of Contador raises some interesting questions and that it may lead to the demise of professional road cycling as we know it.