“Thank god that’s over,” pretty much sums up the office reaction to the seemingly never-ending Alberto Contador fiasco.

This sad, sorry saga dragged on for more than 18 months, but at least after all that time CAS didn’t wimp out of its responsibilities. Contador is duly charged with an anti-doping violation, but as the potentially career-ending two-year ban is backdated, it’ll only actually mean six months away from racing.

The Spaniard will be back for the Vuelta in August and is already the bookmakers’ favourite for another Grand Tour victory.

He’s been stripped of both the 2010 Tour de France and last year’s Giro, but he’ll probably be adding to his palmarès again just eight days after the Olympic road race. That doesn’t seem right and it’s certainly not any deterrent to other potential lawbreakers.

So far there have been no financial repercussions. CAS, never known for rushing its decisions, has yet to rule on this one.

It could sting a bit, the UCI has requested a minimum fine of £2.1 million, but that’s still small fry compared to the salary, endorsements and winnings Contador amassed while the legal wrangling dragged on.

Maybe his former teams and the race organisers should ask for their money back?

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • GrooveRidar

    Only Alberto and his team will ever know whether the Clenbuterol was deliberately taken or ingested by way of contaminated food.

    I think the most ridiculous thing is that the ban is back dated and he is able to ride competions again from August. In reality he should be banned from now for 2 years and then he would really be punished. Could you imagine trying to come back after 2 years and trying to compete with the top riders, it would be near enough impossible instead he has a six month holiday and back on the bike without losing two much race readiness.
    It should have been banned from now, all wins nullified and prize money returned.

  • Mike

    For sure cyclists have been cheating since day one. That makes it all right???
    No of course not.
    At least when the poor unfortunates did it back in the 1890s 1910s it was not illegal, and at least they had the excuse of having to ride stages up to 400k long, starting at 6 in the morning, on heavyweight bikes with no gears.
    No. Contador had a banned performance enhancing substance in his system, therefore he is guilty of doping. Its cheating, and fraud as far as I am concerned. How much bigger would Andy Shleck’s salary have been as Tour winner 2010???
    Every rider signs up to the laws, as they stand. No excuses.
    I for one want to be able to watch a breathtaking performanc by any rider and believe it is down to training, tallent, and sheer ability to suffer, not how clever he is at masking drugs or blood doping.

    Also, anyone with even the smallest interest in pro cycling knows the riders do not eat steak when racing, and certainly not before the queen stage of the TDF.
    So how anyone could come up with an excuse that lame and expect even a tourist to believe it, beggars belief.

  • Nancy Patterson

    I have to be one of Andy Schlecks top fans. I could not be more proud of him as when he turned down as the winner of the 2010 Tour de France due to Contador’s disqalification for drug use. Andy wants to win races on his own, not by disqualifications. I am a 79 year old lady fan and have been following him ever since our United States Lance Armstrong retired the very first time. You go Andy!!! I will be following you every part of this years’ Tour. It is just a shame that Versus doesn’t televise more races besides the Tour de France and the Tour in California. I don’t watch them because Andy isn’t in those races. I would sure like to have a picture of him to keep in front of me.

  • Cavologuardi

    Clenbuterol is not a naturally occurring substance. Its presence in the body, regardless of how it got there, should automatically trigger an immediate two year ban. It’s up to the athlete to take care of what they ingest. It amazes me that Bert and his people were able to offer up an excuse straight away… I wouldn’t have had a clue how the substance could have got there, unless I was asthmatic.

    The only way you could have had any sympathy for Contador is, if in the wake of the announcement of a positive, he had the good grace to take his medicine (pardon the pun) and not enter any of the races he has since gone on to spoil… including last year’s Giro for crying out loud.

  • lewis mcdaniels

    think he should have been banned as the same would of happened in any other sport. 2 years is to short in my opinion

  • Ian Franklin

    Cycling Weekly has been referred to as The Comic since I started reading it in 1960. It is an affectionate title although many of us think the title should not be changed to Sportive Weekly. My point however, was that good journalism takes a balanced view and CW as well as its sister publication overstep the mark when it refers to people involved in doping. For my part, I love this sport, always have done and always will; historically, going back to the 1880s riders have taken substances and its right that now in today’s more puritanical and enlightened society we should get cleaned up. Unfortunately the way this being dealt with is wholly political and a lot to do with egos and power trips. There will be victims: Contador is one victim and there is no real evidence that he deliberately cheated. He may have done, I do not know. But there is no real evidence and CAS themselves alluded to this. I would love CWs reporters to do a real intelligent and unemotional, unbiased report of this issue, covering all possibilities. A well researched and considered feature may actually enlighten some of you out there as to where we really are with this doping issue. I do not think for one minute that WADA or CAS have served the interests of the sport and I do believe that the UCI leadership were rooting for this verdict. That’s why I believe that Contador has been treated unjustly. I cannot see justice in this verdict at all. Neither can I see how it can be used to clean up the sport apart from creating fear amongst every rider. Go back to the Mark Holden case and the caffeine which came from tea drunk during a 24-hour time trial. The tea was supplied by the cycling authorities but Holden still got fingered. Nothing has changed has it?

  • redballoon

    Ian: CW is not a comic. What is wrong with a magazine and its readers wanting the rules being applied as the governing body of cycling wished for them to be applied. It doesn’t matter what the riders in the peloton think, either. They are not the governing body. AC was caught with a banned substance in his system. It matters not one jot where it came from – it was there, and the rules need to be applied whether you are the greatest cyclist of your generation or not. What has been destroying cycling all these years is cycling itself: the directors of teams – people like Riis – and the litany of riders who have been caught and AC should not be treated differently to any other rider.

  • Bing Bell

    He’s a cheat! Contador is only as good as the banned substances that propelled him along the road. Is he better than the Schleck brothers? Is he “one of the best of his generation”?….. no, simply just a cheat!!!

    How can anyone say that this “CHEAT” is the best of their generation when he wins on drugs?!?!?

    CHEAT!!! CHEAT!!! CHEAT!!!

  • Tim

    This is rather like the football situation (it’s nice to see that all sports have their own issues). For me it is about having a set of rules that everyone signs up to at the start and then sticking to them. He has been found guilty by an independent panel, therefore he is guilty, therefore he should serve a two year ban from the guilty verdict. if he wins his appeal then great reinstate him, until then he can’t cycle competitively, after all he has failed a drugs test. if he wins his appeal and he gets reinstated because of the evidence then the system is working. You can’t say that he is clean because all his mates in the peloton say that he is can you? you also cant say that CAS are not calling him a drugs cheat…. they found him guilty!
    we do agree on two things though… Contador is one of the best riders of his generation and Schleck will never win a grand tour esp without his brother to help him!

  • Gus

    Well said Ian, couldnt agree more.

  • Ian Franklin

    Cycling Weekly condemned Alberto before the verdict. The comic, sadly, wanted Alberto to fall, but many riders in the pro peloton question as to whether this verdict is correct or not. There are very strong arguments to suggest that the verdict was political and Alberto was used as an example. However, even CAS could not and would not say that he is a drug cheat and they gave him the benefit of the doubt as they said this substance may have come from contaminated supplements. Its happened before and it’ll happen again. Sadly, CW’s journalism has not really taken a balanced view and weighed up all the pros and cons in this case.
    Contador. Its a disgrace. Is cycling trying to destroy itself ? I believe Contador is clean, and its appalling to treat him that way. Schleck may not be, and I don’t believe ever will be a genuine Tour winner. Contador is the best Grand Tour rider of his generation. I thought it was interesting that after he won the Giro, it was so hard, he had not recovered by the Tour and was still tired. Surely proof he was clean? In the old days with doping, riders recovered within days. I feel terrible for him.

  • peter

    Really glad he’s been banned, although agree would echo the comments/sentiments of Robert’s piece….why did it take the CAS 18 months to take this ‘druggy’ to task and ban him!