The news that Alberto Contador is banned for one year and losing his 2010 Tour de France crown is pretty depressing news for everyone — unless you’re the organizers of the Vuelta a España.
If Wednesday’s ruling by the Spanish cycling federation stands, Contador would be sidelined for the 2011 Tour de France, but could start the 2011 Vuelta. Or could he?
Vuelta organizers certainly think so. Javier Guillén told Europa Press on Wednesday night European time that they would love to see Contador line up for the August 20 start of the 2011 Vuelta.
“We’d love it if Contador could race the Vuelta … but right now to comment on a resolution that still has not been finalized doesn’t make sense because what we say today could mean nothing tomorrow. We have to wait,” Guillén said. “We don’t know anything more right now than what’s been reported in the media. We don’t want to say anything more until there’s been a resolution.”
The larger question remains on when Contador’s racing ban would begin.
Due to the late hour in Europe, sources at the UCI, the Spanish cycling federation and representatives of Contador could not be reached for comment on this story, but there is an uncertainty of what date a Contador ban would begin.
Contador has not raced since winning the 2010 Tour de France on July 25, but a lag time between Contador’s alleged offense — on the Tour’s second rest day on July 21 — and the date he was notified of his doping offense will come into play. This question becomes particularly important bans are typically pegged to the date of official notification.
According to several reports, Contador was not officially notified until August 23 or 24. There are other reports that say that the official UCI notification didn’t come until as late as September 30.
In either case, Contador would not be able to start the 2011 Vuelta because it starts August 20 in Benidorm with a team time trial.
The case is still open to appeal from Contador, the UCI and WADA. However, when the “ban begins” could have major importance for Contador, his Saxo Bank team and the Vuelta a España.