Monday, February 06, 2012

Alberto Contador Gets 2-Year Ban for Doping, Loses 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro D'Italia Titles

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed Alberto Contador a 2-year ban this morning, applied from the date of investigation, and effectively stripping him of his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro D'Italia wins. He will also miss the Tour for 2012, plus the London Olympics. The CAS suspended the three-time Tour champion after rejecting his claim that his positive test for clenbuterol was caused by eating contaminated meat.

One would think the most excited folks to hear the news would be Andy Schleck, who now gets bumped to 1st after his epic duel with Contador in 2010, or perhaps Michele Scarponi, who gets the win for the 2011 Giro D'Italia, but it appears neither of them are too excited with the news and the 550+ days it took to reach a verdict. In fact, that seems to be the reaction of the sport in general. Even the comics at The Onion are wondering if their mock story was perhaps more true than false.

Andy Schleck summed it up well:
“There is no reason to be happy now. First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. This is just a very sad day for cycling. If now I am declared overall winner of the 2010 Tour de France it will not make me happy. I battled with Contador in that race and I lost. My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sporting way, being the best of all competitors, not in court. If I succeed this year, I will consider it as my first Tour victory.”
UCI President Pat McQuaid said: "This is a sad day for our sport. Some may think of it as a victory, but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping: every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many."

Somewhere on the back pages of all of this, there's a little footnote that says the US federal case against Lance Armstrong has been dropped. Well timed, Armstrong PR team!

Man, talk about a sport in trouble.


  1. No offense, but...

    Do you think dopers just somehow gravitate to cycling? The sport is extremely grueling, so I think the doping is more about the drive to win at any cost. On one level, there's something to admire about that. On another level, taking drugs to win is wrong, of course.

    Trail runners would never take drugs to win, would they? It's all about fun, and maybe a little friendly competition, right? Add international fame, television coverage and millions of dollars to the mix and let's see what happens. Cycling is tarnished for sure, but not really in trouble. How many hundreds of thousands of people lined the course to watch your last trail race?

  2. The Armstrong news came out over the weekend. The Contador news on Monday.

  3. I don't know a thing about the type of substance Contador supposedly "ingested". But I also don't understand the "tolerance" of doping within the sport. Or is it because it took so long to reach the conclusion (which I can understand).

    If the methods of testing need to be changed, then it's "hate the game, not the player". But until then, it is what it is, and people need to keep their nose clean.

  4. Scott, you have the timeline of the Armstrong case and Contador mixed up. Has nothing to do with his PR team.
    Secondly, I believe that any sport that tests for doping as much as cycling will produce a lot of positives. Don't forget there are multiple doping cases in running each and every year.
    wikipedia lists hundreds of running doping cases. Male enhancement product (LaShawn Merritt) anyone?
    And cycling is much more popular than trail running in most of the world. One could look at it I suppose as a sport in trouble or a sport that's serious about cleaning up. The euros cringe at lax enforcement at the USOC.
    I do enjoy your trail running blog though!!

  5. I think in cycling the doping really works. To be at the top you need to dope. I think they're all doing it. Chris Kelley - Framingham

  6. I recognize that doping's a big story in cycling, but I really don't believe it's happening any less in any sport that involves a lot of money and fame. Really you have to give credit to the cycling community. When Lance Armstrong says he's the most drug tested athlete in the history of sport, he's probably right, and if he's wrong, it's other Tour-de-France riders who beat him. There is simply no other sport whose athletes are tested and policed anywhere near as rigorously. I suspect that if America's big three sports were to move beyond mere token drug testing, we'd find that there's plenty of doping going on there. If there's a black cloud over cycling, we can only see it, because there's any light at all. That said, I think ultrarunning's clean, and as long as we can keep money out of it, it will stay that way.

  7. It bums me out a bit that people can "dope up" and see nothing wrong with it because they are just so concerned with winning. They started out doing something they loved and happened to be good at it and then perverted it for a love of the spotlight and money. I think athletes that uses performance enhancing drugs should be as publicly shamed as possible. They have to realize that its not just about them when they are in the public eye, people look up to them and will follow their leads.


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