As if the case had not dragged on for long enough already, reports in the Spanish media on Wednesday claim that a verdict on Alberto Contador’s case could now be delayed until at least February.
According to un-named sources within the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), the reported new delay has come about as the federation’s four-person disciplinary committee try to resolve what is apparently an exceptionally complex case.
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It is certainly a large one. When RFEC president Juan Carlos Castaño received the emails with all the documentation from the UCI telling him to open up a case in early November 2010, there were so many files for the case it blocked his email account.
Contador has already been suspended, provisionally and with the full agreement of the rider, since the end of August 2010. However, even if not racing, he has since been training with his new team, Saxo Bank, has been registered as a Saxo Bank rider with the UCI and has recently appeared in the latest new photo – although interestingly, somewhere at the back of the third row of riders, rather than any more prominently. There are also unconfirmed reports that Contador is down as one of Saxo Bank’s riders for the Tour of Murcia, in early March.
But the delays continue to pile up, and the worst is there will be more. WADA and the UCI have made it clear they will immediately appeal to CAS if they do not approve of the Spanish Federation’s verdict, which would add on yet more time to resolving cycling’s umpteenth high-profile doping case.