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Sanction could be costly for Contador

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Feb. 7, 2012
  • Updated Feb. 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM EST
Contador (L) looks on prior to the opening of his hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport on November 21, 2011 in Lausanne. (file) Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

ALCUDIA, Spain (VN) — One major point still unresolved in the Alberto Contador disciplinary case is whether or not he will have to pay a huge fine to the UCI.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave Contador the maximum, two-year sentence on Monday, but left the question of whether or not he will have to pay a fine up to 70 percent of his salary to the UCI still unanswered.

Riders banned for outright doping violations are required to pay up to 70 percent of their salaries to the UCI as part of language introduced by the cycling federation to act as a deterring factor for would-be cheaters. The rule has been highly controversial and some riders have refused to pay the sum while others have paid in full.

For Contador, that could be an estimated 2.3 million euros, a huge amount of money in what’s already been a highly divided and controversial case.

The fact that CAS did not fully designate Contador’s case as outright doping leaves some ambiguity that will be answered at a later date. CAS did not indicate when that might come, but it’s sure to be highly contested by his legal team.

Contador’s two-year sanction for clenbuterol will likely end up costing him millions more dollars than he’s already spent trying to prove his innocence in his doping case.

According to reports in the Spanish media, Contador has already spent around one million euros on lawyers during the long-running case.

With a full, two-year sanction handed down Monday by CAS, Contador will need to forfeit prize money from races he won over the past year and a half. That sum could top another one million euros when you add up the GC prizes from the Tour and Giro, as well as races such as Murcia and Catalunya.

Most of that money, however, is typically divided up between riders and staff, so trying to get that back will not be so easy.

Add up future lost salary, appearance fees and other endorsement dollars, CAS’s ruling could end up costing Contador more than 5 million euros by the time the dust has settled.

Complete coverage of Alberto Contador’s clenbuterol case

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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