The Explainer: Thoughts on the Contador decision

Dear Readers,
It’s been a little more than a day since the International Court of Arbitration for Sport released its decision in the Contador case.

The big news is already out, mainly that Alberto Contador was found to be guilty of having violated Articles 21.1 and 21.2 of the UCI’s Anti-Doping Rules. That resulted in a two-year suspension, officially beginning on January 25, 2011 and, with credit applied for the time he served on provisional suspension, ending on August 5 of this year.

By finding that a violation occurred during the event, Contador was automatically stripped of his victory at the 2010 Tour de France. Furthermore, those results he acquired during the period now deemed to be part of his suspension would also be negated. Most notably, that means he is no longer the official winner of the 2011 Giro d’Italia.

Okay, all of that stuff we know, but a number of you raised questions about the decision, the defenses raised, the allegations made and the term of the suspension itself. Fortunately, the three-member CAS panel spelled out its reasoning quite carefully in a well-drafted opinion. I know that many of us don’t consider a 98-page legal document to be the height of recreational reading and it took me a while to sort through the thing myself. I was actually pretty impressed, though, by the work of the three attorneys on the panel, who may have taken a little more time than any of us would have liked, but did a thorough job in explaining their reasoning.

So, using the decision letter, the UCI’s Anti-Doping Rules and the WADA Code as guides, let’s tackle a few of the more common questions I’ve received over the last day or so. The questions that appear below may represent edited or merged questions I’ve received. Some have come from emails sent directly, via Twitter and Facebook and in the comments section below the original news story.

New math?
Is this some sort of “new math” CAS is using? It’s a two-year suspension and he spent all of last year racing. Still, he’s coming back in time for this year’s Vuelta. To me that looks like a six-month suspension.
— John

Dear John,
It might be good to start by asking why Contador got to ride in 2011. Look at the cases involving Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton for purposes of contrast. Contador managed to put in a full season last year. Conversely, Hamilton and Landis did not compete during the entire process, including the wait for the appeal.

The biggest difference, of course, is that both Landis and Hamilton lost their cases in the first round, when the case was originally heard by the American Arbitration Association. Contador, whose case was originally heard by a doping panel, assembled by the Real Federación Española de Ciclismo (RFEC), actually won his case … at least in that first round.

Once the RFEC issued a decision in his favor, Contador was free to ride. He had been cleared of the charges and in the event of an appeal, the original ruling stands until its reversed by CAS. That’s the same reason why Landis and Hamilton were not able to ride. They had been found in violation of the rules and those decisions would stand, unless reversed on appeal.

Contador did accept a provisional suspension and did not compete once he was notified of the positive result from the 2010 Tour on August 26. The RFEC issued a ruling in Contador’s favor on February 14, 2011, at which point he was again free to ride. He had, therefore, already served a suspension of five months and 19 days. The UCI Anti-Doping Rules specifically state that time served under a provisional suspension is to be credited against any future penalty relating to the violation at issue.

Interestingly, the CAS panel noted that on January 25 of 2011 (keep that date at the back of your mind) the RFEC actually floated a “plea agreement” past Contador, which would have resulted in the negation of his 2010 Tour results and a one-year suspension. On February 7, 2011, he turned down that offer and the RFEC panel ruled in his favor a week later.

It wasn’t until March 24 that the UCI announced its intention to appeal the RFEC ruling to CAS. WADA filed notice of its plan to appeal five days later.

In imposing its penalty, the CAS panel ruled that Contador’s suspension officially began on January 25, 2011, the day the RFEC floated its initial plea deal to Contador. A two-year suspension would carry through to January 25, 2013, but then the rules call for him to be credited with time served, so he is once again eligible to ride on August 5 of this year.

Contador’s attorneys did argue that it would be “unfair” to negate any results he achieved between the time of the RFEC ruling and the CAS decision, but the panel disagreed. Among the cases the attorneys cited was that of Alejandro Valverde, some of whose results earned prior to the full adjudication of his case were left intact.

It’s worth noting here that CAS issued its ruling in the Valverde case in May of 2010. It imposed a two-year suspension, back-dating it to January of 2010. By doing so, Valverde’s results earned between January and May were in fact erased from the record books. By that standard, the CAS panel said that it would be inappropriate to impose a sanction that begins in January of 2011 and then leave intact the results Contador earned after that date.

So, confusing as it might seem, the CAS panel did carefully work its way through the whole process and imposed what it found to be a fair penalty.

Why did this all take so long?
I’ve read in your column and others that there is no acceptable level of clenbuterol and that it’s a simple strict liability offense. It was there. Contador didn’t dispute the test result, but tried to explain it away. What was so complicated that made this thing take almost two years?
— Elaine

Dear Elaine,
True. It’s been 19 months since Alberto Contador tested positive for minute traces of Clenbuterol and it was only yesterday that CAS issued a final decision in the case. In Hamilton and Landis, the process took even longer.

The author of the adage that “the wheels of justice grind slowly,” could have had the whole WADA system in mind when he penned that one. Look at some of the most high-profile doping cases in cycling to get a feel for it if you have your doubts. Hamilton, Landis, Valverde, Ullrich … they all took years to resolve. Even if they had been successful in their appeals, their careers had effectively been on hold for a period almost as long as their original suspensions.

While the rules may appear to be simple, that isn’t always the case. I guess the best way to describe the problem is that in doping cases, sometimes strict liability isn’t actually so strict.

Generally speaking, a strict liability offense is one in which the prosecution need not prove the element of intent.

Since I just handled a case involving a defendant charged with possession of a controlled substance, let’s look at the law my client was alleged to have violated:

It is unlawful for any person within the city limits knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was ….

Do you see that those two key words in there? “Knowingly” or “intentionally?” In order to convict my client, the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my client actually knew he had the controlled substance in his possession. (Admittedly, in most cases, that’s not a huge burden for the prosecution.)

Conversely, there is no intent element when it comes to speeding. If you get pulled over for going 40 in a school zone, the cop, the prosecutor and the courts don’t give a rat’s rear if you knew you were speeding or if you knew it was a school zone. You were operating the vehicle and the vehicle was going faster than the posted speed limit. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. That is strict liability in its purest form.

Now, CAS has in the past offered a little wiggle room in these strict liability cases. In a sense, that wiggle room gives the athlete the opportunity to put forward an explanation that would show him to be a completely innocent victim of circumstance. It means that the athlete has the chance to raise an “affirmative defense.” That does, however, shift the burden of proof over to the defendant.

Take for example the case of table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov. He played an event in China and, soon after, tested positive for clenbuterol. In his defense, he offered evidence that, although illegal, clenbuterol is still widely used in China and that he was very likely exposed through food he consumed on that trip. The German Table Tennis Federation ruled in his favor, the international governing body did not appeal and he was free to go.

While those really-good-explanation defenses might be considered, the CAS takes a really narrow view of them. There have been several cases in which riders have accidentally ingested banned substances by consuming contaminated food supplements.

For example, in USADA v. Moninger, USADA v. Neben and USADA v. Oliveira, athletes were able to show that they consumed contaminated supplements, but hearing and appeals panels still cited Article 21.1-(1)(1) of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, which states:

It is each Rider’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his body. Riders are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their bodily Specimens. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Rider’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an antidoping violation under article 21.1.

In those cases, the explanation served only as a mitigating factor – information that prompted the court to reduce the penalty due to the absence of intent.

But Contador was going for full exoneration and was offering his own version of the Ovtcharov defense. To do that he had to present evidence to support the claim. In a heavily regulated market like that in Europe, providing that evidence might be harder than it would be were one to raise that same claim when referring to the unfettered market in that bastion of unregulated free-enterprise, known as “China.”

While the sample in question was provided on July 20, 2010, it wasn’t until November 8, that the UCI formally asked the RFEC to begin disciplinary proceedings. That actually moved pretty quickly and, as I mentioned before, the decision was released in February.

It then took another six weeks or so before the UCI and WADA decided whether to appeal the RFEC ruling. When they did appeal, they raised a number of peripheral issues, including the blood transfusion theory and the whole “plasticizer” question.

That added a whole new complexity to the case and there were a number of extensions and continuances granted as both sides sought to sort through some fairly complicated evidence. Then, as frustrated cycling fans know, the CAS panel took its own sweet time in issuing a decision. Again, the panel said, it was due to the complexity of the issues presented … even though they then disregarded the most complex charges and defense and came up with their own theory (see below).

It took time, but because of the complexity of some of the issues, it actually moved along reasonably well … at least in terms of how lawyers might view it. When you’re looking at it from an athlete’s perspective – and a finite window of opportunity to have a career—this process is painfully slow.

Was it the plastic?
What’s your take on the whole plasticizer question? I thought it was interesting and am wondering if that might have tipped the balance for CAS.
— Eric

I do not think the transfusion/plasticizer issue did anything but complicate and delay the process. A careful reading of the decision letter shows that the CAS panel actually spent a great deal of time considering the UCI/WADA allegation that the trace amounts of clenbuterol were the result of a transfusion.

They ruled that the evidence did not support the allegation that Contador had transfused the day before his July 21st blood sample was taken.

In the absence of a specific WADA rule or substantial peer-reviewed studies regarding what levels of plasticizers one might expect to see in a normal blood sample, the CAS panel wisely reviewed Contador’s biological passport data instead and found no evidence that he had transfused.

Interestingly, too, was the introduction of polygraph evidence that purportedly showed that Contador was not lying when he denied that claim.

In order to corroborate his assertion that he did not undergo a blood transfusion of any kind at the relevant time, the Athlete voluntarily underwent a polygraph examination on 3 May 2011. In doing so, Mr. Contador was asked and answered two series of question(s) ….

The results of the polygraph test were clear according to Dr. Louis Rovner, the specialist who administered the exam. His results were shared with an outside expert, who agreed with the conclusions and reported to the CAS panel that “After a complete review of all of the materials supplied, and both a semi-objective and objective assessment of the recorded physiological data, I concur with with Dr. Rovner’s findings that Alberto Contador was truthful when he responded to the relevant questions asked in each of his … examinations.”

The CAS panel reviewed the UCI/WADA allegations and pretty much lumped them in with Contador’s tainted beef defense, concluding that both claims lacked sufficient evidence to warrant consideration.

Oddly enough, the panel then went on to bring up the question of contaminated food supplements, despite the fact that neither Contador, the UCI nor WADA raise the issue.

In what has to be the weakest line of reasoning in the entire letter, the CAS panel posits its own contamination theory, even though a strict interpretation of the rules doesn’t require one. Then going even further out on a limb, the panel concludes that it was the most likely means by which Contador was exposed.

AC is stripped of titles. Does he have to give back the money? Since typically the money is distributed amongst the team, I like to picture AC going up to a masseur, to whom the TdF money represented a pretty significant bonus, and begging for the cash back.
— DStan58

Dear DStan58,
While tradition dictates that prize money is distributed among a grand tour winner’s teammates and support staff, the money is awarded to the rider himself.

The CAS ruling makes Contador responsible for returning those monies. It doesn’t matter if he spent that money in accordance with tradition or bought a Ferrari. He’s the one who has to pay it back. Perhaps his staff and teammates might feel a moral obligation to help him out, but they certainly have no legal obligation.
– Charles

The Explainer is now a weekly feature on Red Kite Prayer. If you have a question related to the sport of cycling, doping or the legal issues faced by cyclists of all stripes, feel free to send it directly to The Explainer at Charles@Pelkey.com. PLEASE NOTE: Understand that reading the information contained here does not mean you have established an attorney-client relationship with attorney Charles Pelkey. Readers of this column should not act upon any information contained therein without first seeking the advice of qualified legal counsel licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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30 comments

  1. Luis Fernando @slowatforty

    As expected, pretty clear. Myself, I’m still amazed by the different reactions from the dropped charges against LA (ranging from outrage to conspiracy theories) and AC penalties (that go from outcry of unfairness to conspiracy theories.)

  2. Chris Lumley

    This entire decision seems odd to me. If they had enforced the “zero tolerance” policy, it would be understandable. If they had expressed a belief in the plasticizer/transfusion theory, it would also make sense. But to decide that he is guilty because he took “contaminated supplements,” surely having no more intentionally cheated than had he eaten “contaminated beef,” is bizarre. Does that mean that unintentional ingestion is an admissible defense if you can correctly guess the source, but not if you have to rely on the CAS to guess it for you?

  3. Steve O

    Interesting that AC submitted to a polygraph. And surprised that they didn’t cut him more slack for doing so — if only to encourage more people to do so. Now, there’s no point. Nervousness could lead to a bad reading that could hurt your case, and apparently telling the truth doesn’t help you any.

  4. Doug Page

    The grinding wheels of justice have broken to bits another cyclist’s life. Pro racers’ careers pass by us almost as fleetingly as a peloton. “Justice delayed is justice denied”.

  5. Anthony Geller

    I understand the math behind the duration of Contador’s suspension, but not the logic. If the RFEC ruled he was free to ride on March 24, 2011 and that decision was not reversed until Feb 6, 2012, why should that period count as part of the suspension? Contador held a valid license and was competing fairly under UCI and WADA rules. I think most observers not expert in WADA rules would believe the proper term of the suspension should start Feb 6, 2012 and run two years from that date, less the five months and 19 days served under the provisional suspension. Since there was no judgement in place against Contador from March 24, 2011 through Feb 6, 2012, results earned during that period should be allowed to stand. I don’t understand what I’m missing.

  6. MCH

    Another star appears to have been brought down, and 2 major titles lost, due to contamination beyond his control. How much is enough?!? How is this good for the sport?

    Given that the CAS panel suggested that contamination is the most likely reason for the negative test, the core question for me is, will WADA / UCI revise the rules?

  7. Mike

    Anthony – I agree with your logic and I do not believe those of us who do are missing anything. It is simply how the wheels of cycling’s adminstrative machines turn. How this has played out is not at all consistent with other (lesser) riders’ circumstances (which were dealt with much more decisively and swiftly).

  8. Dan Connelly

    Excellent, excellent article! However, there is one missing point, which is that no sport can thrive in such an environment of instability. Consider the 2011 Giro: Contador was a valid, licensed rider for a highly ranked, licensed team. Had he been denied entry in that race he and his team may well have had grounds to sue. Yet in accepting Contador’s entry, the entire epic race has been turned into a farce. Cycling, other than time trials, is highly tactical, which means the presence of a rider strongly affects the interactions of other riders. You can’t simply remove a rider’s effect by removing him from the standings. And in such a turbulent, uncertain environment, how are sponsors expected to commit to the sport? This is especially true if consideration is given not only to erasing a rider’s personal results retroactively, but also retroactively considering the grounds for a team’s license.

    So the system clearly needs to be fixed. The decision, it seems, comes down strongly on the side of strict liability. So given that, no substance should have a 0 threshold. Set quantitative limits for everything. This will reduce the problems of advances in test sensitivity. Second, if the burden of proof is going to be against the rider, the minute a positive B-sample is announced the rider doesn’t race. Cycling cannot tolerate the cascade of destruction which results when a rider continues to participate and results are retroactively revised.

    Eddy Merckx has said this case proves people are trying to kill cycling. Whether there is intent or not, further cases like this may well accomplish that end, at least in the form we know it now.

  9. Panurgist

    My heart goes out to all the riders who raced against Contador and lost. According to the CAS ruling he should not have been there and they lost their day in the sun to a ghost. I agree with Anthony’s logic. When Contador was allowed to race his results were legitimate. The suspension should begin now minus the time served.

  10. RobbyCanuck

    “If he is to find any kind of succour from the CAS decision, it is the fact
    doping experts believe he did not ingest clenbuterol intentionally. They
    deemed the Spaniard was likely a victim of a contaminated food supplement.”

    Plus all of the scientific experts agreed the amount of the clen could not have given him a perfomance enhancing advantge.

    If this is the crux of the CAS’s findings their ruling is a complete joke. It takes the concept of strict liability to a ludicrous low. WADA and the UCI ought to be ashamed of themselves for suspending AC in these circumstances. They come off looking ridiculous and vacuous.

    If the whole goal of the system is to penalize performance enhancement for the intentional taking of a PED then this decision is devoid of any reasonable logic. Clearly there was no intent to cheat here. This is about as autocratic bonehead as one can get.

    The Riders need a union headed by a strong legal person who can demand a Riders Code of Rights to protect them from such a fallacious farce.

  11. Sidamo

    @Chris; yes, if you can prove that you unintentionally ingested the substance, in many cases you will either be exonerated, or will have a significantly reduced sentence. However, if I claim I failed a drug test due to a particular supplement, it’s relatively easy to trace the place of manufacture of the supplement, perhaps find a sample of it and PROVE that the sample contains the banned substance in question. If I can do that, I may be OK.

    However, AC was not able to do that. WADA and the Spanish traced the beef story and could find no evidence of contamination. Also, there’s an existing European Union beef testing program which shows that the odds of contamination are minuscule, unlike say China or Mexico.

    So, CAS ARE enforcing the zero tolerance policy. It’s in your system, you can’t show how it got there accidentally, therefore you’re banned. Even though they say the most likely scenario is accidental ingestion, since AC can’t actually PROVE that, he’s subject to a full ban.

  12. LD

    Once again…… I gotta ask. When will Procycling teams break from the Draconian and archaic old boy network called the UCI and form its own series? I hate the system as it stands. (Hey Bernie… you listening?) I hate reading that experts believe Contador ingested the (what 0.0000%) ?! Clen inadvertently. My only hope is that McQuaid keeps eating wheelbarrows full of saturated fats and Contador continues training, comes back and spanks everyone in the Vuelta and next years Tour. Without him the pretenders have a chance to win and with him they can settle back in to playing fiddle to this generations greatest stage racer.

  13. randomactsofcycling

    I’m past wanting to deal with all the technicalities of this case. I simply have one question I would like to ask, as the repeated statements that the amount of Clenbuterol were ‘too miniscule to provide benefit’ are annoying me.

    How much was in his system in the first place?


    1. Author
      Charles Pelkey

      The initial test result showed 50 picograms per milliliter of urine. That’s 50 trillionths of a gram and well below the level believed to provide a performance enhancement.

  14. Jesus from Cancun

    One way I see it is: WADA and UCI brought up the appeal based on the transfusion theory. This transfision theory was proven wrong, for what I understand. So then, WADA didn’t have a case… but then the whole issue was way past the point of no return.

    Another way I see it: Contador could think about it as a six month suspension. Sure, his name will be written off the records for a year and a half of results, he might have to return a lot of prize money, from a sporting perspective, it is a total disaster.

    But this is professional sports, this is also about marketing and business. For a year and a half, he was allowed to market the Astana brand, Saxo Bank, Sidi, SRAM, Speedplay,Look,Trek and then Specialized, etc. He was still in the headlines, advertisements, interviews. He gave his sponsors all the exposure they could have wanted for their investment, and he made so much more than prize money.
    And as I understand, nobody can take away the endorsement money and primes he has earned. And that has to be several times whatever amount he might have to give back.

    So relax, Beto. It is really not as bad as it could have been. You were not sent to the freezer for two years as others have.

    See you at the Vuelta.

  15. Chipist

    Lets look at this another way. There are 40 litres of water in the average male body. So if the concentration of Clenbuterol was the same in all of those 40 litres (yes, I know, but bear with me…), then there would be…

    50pg/ml * 40,000ml = 2ug total.

    Now consider that the max dose of Clenbuterol is 130ug / day. The half life of Clenbuterol is 1.5 days. So to get to the max dosage a person would have taken the max dose approx 1.5 * log2(64) = 1.5 x 6 = 9 days before. (64, because 2ug * 64 = 128ug, which is close enough to 130ug)

    So if the max dosage was taken 9 days before, then none taken until a blood extraction, this is the dose you would see. If Contador WAS cheating, this seems an entirely plausible thing he would have done, e.g. think if he stopped 9 days before extracing blood he would not get caught as at the time the blood was extracted no tests could detect that small an ammount.

    The strange part for me is why did CAS state that they did not think this was a likely reason for the failed test?, and state that they think it was most likely from a contaminated supplement, despite what appears ZERO evidence for this.


    1. Author
      Charles Pelkey

      CHIPIST ASKS:
      The strange part for me is why did CAS state that they did not think this was a likely reason for the failed test?
      Because earlier samples showed no sign of clenbuterol.

  16. Adam

    Charles, I have a question I haven’t seen asked or answered anywhere. BMC essentially sat out Ballan for almost a whole season while he was being investigated – not even charged I believe. He’s no Contador, but he was the basis of their Spring campaign and as an ex-World Champion a very expensive signing for them.
    What was the difference there, did BMC do that voluntarily (if so it would make Rihs seem far more serious than Riis about being anti drug) and if it wasn’t voluntary how did Contador get out of it? It seems like a large portion of the outrage here is that even if Contador doped in the 2010 Tour he didn’t in the 2011 Giro and the reversal of those subsequent results seems unduly harsh to both him and his competitors.

  17. Chipist

    Charles,

    The earlier samples would not have shown anything if he transfused his own blood after the earlier tests.

    Just realised a slight mistake in my calculation above, if the Clenbuterol came from a blood bag, the concentration in that blood bag would have been much higher as it is diluted by 1/5th(blood) to 1/40th(water) (if we back of a beer mat assume 1 litre of blood transfused). No idea how it spreads around the body when ingested though, which affects the concentration in blood/urine obviously.

  18. Jesus from Cancun

    Chipist: I see your point. I wonder too.
    Jut one thing. The human body has 4 liters of blood (roughly about 8 pints), not 40.
    I know, I know. This frickin’ metric system…

  19. Jesus from Cancun

    And now that I checked, adults are supposed to have between 5 and 6 liters.
    Sorry, it’s off the point, I still understand what you meant.

  20. Chipist

    40 litres is water in your body. Does the Clenbuterol spread into the water in your body too? Anyway, that is not really my point. It is the fact that he could have had a week off the Clen, then took blood. But CAS have said there is no evidence of this, as the blood passport showed no change.

    Can we confirm it was a blood test he failed, and not a urine test?

    Can they detect if you inject your own blood in a blood passport test? Are there ways to scam the result? e.g have a saline too to dilute the blood?

    I originally thought it was nailed on he had blood doped and the Clen was in there, but I now have serious doubts given what CAS said……

  21. RPD

    I understand how they can arrive with the amount of clenbuterol, however small an amount. A concern I have about the plasticizer test is that if he received an injection from any vessel (like a syringe), he would be positive for those substances.. even from something like a flu shot. The collection vessel could also be a suspect for plasticizer origin unless it was glass, in which case it would have shown silicates. While WADA was previously developing a test for plasticizers, I think the potential for contamination would be too great to validate a method. In that way, I don’t think you could argue he transfused himself with clen-laden blood. If they could show 2 distinct populations of blood cells (whether they were his own from an earlier time point or a foreign compatible source), then they could have successfully argued he transfused.

  22. Hank

    The part that mystifies me is that they rejected WADA’s contention that he transfused, came up with their own theory of why Contador did not dope…which as you point out they were not required to do…and then handed him the maximum penalty.

    It’s like a scene lifted from the film Brazil.

  23. djconnel

    Some interesting quantitative analysis in this CyclingNews forum post. Argument is that even supplements which were tested as pure could have had enough CB to have yielded Contador’s urine concentration, so he might have grounds to argue no reasonable person who uses commercial supplements could have avoided these levels of contamination, even sending supplements to a lab for analysis before taking, since CAS is documented as saying supplements are the most likely explanation (as opposed to any intentional doping).

  24. pensum

    Hey Charles, even if they decided not to impose a ban on Contador, doesn’t the very presence of a banned substance, no matter how it was ingested, intentional or not, mean that they would still have to nullify his TdF win at least?

    I understand that intent is highly relevant to the imposition of a ban and its length, however it only seems common sense that if you have a banned substance in your body you have an unfair advantage over your competitors and intent is of no import whatsoever to how such substances might have influenced the result of a specific race.

  25. Eddie

    Very good explination of the decision, thank you. I was at first put off by the CAS opinion of how the drug ended up in his system, However after Charles’ explination, I get it.

    They appear to be saying this is what we think happened and still does not mater which way the drug entered his system.

    That 2 year period is still strange.

  26. Jim

    Alberto’s sample was sent to the Cologne lab that tests to a much lower threshold than the French (?) lab that other samples were sent to. Had that not happened he probably would not have tested positive. Why was his sample sent to that lab? How many other samples went to that lab? How many different labs are used during the TdF? Were all samples from that date sent to Cologne or just his? How does (ASO? UCI?)decide which samples go to which lab? Is there a protocol or is it just arbitrary?

  27. Tom

    My conspiracy theory? ‘Berto tells Spanish doping authorities to find him innocent so he can keep riding competitively until he gets suspended by CAS. they say OK. He loses 6 months of competitive riding. He crushes the Vuelta and is back in form for ’12. Pure genius! Bjarne’s no dumby.

  28. Pingback: The Explainer: Are we better off now than we were before? : Red Kite Prayer

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