No one’s happier about growing speculation that a decision in the caso Contador could come as soon as Thursday than Alberto Contador.
Contador is exasperated with the glacial speed of his disciplinary process and is anxiously awaiting word from Spanish officials about his fate.
“Alberto wants to at least know what’s going to happen, to at least have a decision,” Contador spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told VeloNews on Wednesday. “This process has been going on for so long, it’s not normal. We hope simply to have an answer so we can have something to look at.”
Spanish media reports that Contador is facing a possible one-year sanction and disqualification of his 2010 Tour de France victory made headlines around the world Tuesday, but Vidarte said the Contador camp remains in the dark.
“We don’t know anything about what’s going on. I think all these reports are speculation,” Vidarte continued. “We’re waiting to hear from the Spanish authorities. They say a decision could come Thursday, but we’ve not been told anything by anyone. The notification would come by (surface) mail, so even if a decision is made, it might take some more time.”
An official at the Spanish cycling federation told VeloNews that Contador will be notified directly and that the decision will not be made public for 10 days. The Spanish cycling federation president said a decision should come by February 15.
Contador is facing up to a two-year ban and disqualification of this 2010 Tour crown after testing positive for clenbuterol during a rest-day control conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Contador’s legal team provided a mountain of evidence which they say demonstrates their claims that the positive test came from eating contaminated steaks brought in from Spain.
Vidarte said Contador and his legal team still have not many any decisions about whether or not they would appeal a decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and shot down suggestions that Contador would live with a one-year ban. Contador’s team will have 30 days to decide whether an appeal is appropriate.
“We have not made any decisions yet (about a possible appeal). We haven’t spoken about that because we want to wait to first see the official ruling and then they will discuss what’s the appropriate response,” Vidarte continued. “Whether it’s one year, two years, or innocent – which is what we’re hoping for – we don’t know. We have no pre-determined (legal) strategy.”
Vidarte said Contador’s legal team is still holding out hope that he will be cleared, citing the case of German table tennis player Dimitro Otcharov, who was cleared by German authorities after arguing that Otcharov’s positive came from eating meat while on a trip to China. WADA has since appealed that ruling.
Contador, meanwhile, is training this week in Mallorca with his Saxo Bank-Sungard teammates. Though temporarily suspended from competition during the disciplinary process, the UCI gave Contador the green light to join team-organized training camps.
“Alberto is doing his typical early season base training, nothing too intense right now,” Vidarte said. “While we don’t know what’s going to happen, Alberto wants to keep in shape and be ready to race if he is cleared.”
Team boss Bjarne Riis is holding a press conference Friday, but Vidarte said that was planned weeks ago. Contador has decided to keep a low profile during the disciplinary process and will not be speaking to the media.