So, Contador is officially a doper. I’d be happy, ‘cept, not really.
On one hand, I’m happy he’s busted – that cycling has absolutely the most aggressive no tolerance policy in all of sport is something to be touted, especially after the legacy of the 80s and 90s.
On the other hand, the CAS case against Contador’s especially weak – it doesn’t make a clean case that Contador was systematic doping, leaves open the possibility that it really was contaminated meat, and doesn’t make any accommodation for 18 months of racing, lots of testing, and winning freakin’ two grand tours, really decisively in the case of the 2011 Giro.
24 months seems to be the CAS’ standard sentence for a doping positive. So, it’s not surprising that Contador got the standard.
On the other hand, CAS left itself open to the counter charge that it’s screwing Contador just to make an example. In which case I’m disappointed – The amount of clenbuterol in his system is a tribute to our ability to detect minute concentrations of anything. Stripping him of two titles earned under extremely close scrutiny serves only to throw closer scrutiny on the existing cycling anti-doping efforts, and impugns every other cyclist currently riding.
That it took almost two years to come to this decision, during which Contador continued to ride under threat of having results overturned, keeping the entire sport in limbo, is an indictment of CAS process. Justice delayed is justice denied. For a career that really spans from about 24 to 34 for most Grand Tour contenders, two years means that there’s going to be a lot of asterixes as drug tests continue to improve.
I still don’t like Contador, but he’s getting screwed. He deserves something for popping positive, but two tours stripped, two years late? Not justice.
Update – The long arm of Justice is still reaching out for Armstrong – WADA requested the evidience the US Grand Jury accumulated while looking for Fraud at US Postal.