World cycling chief Pat McQuaid, who earlier this month called for the Alberto Contador case to be settled as soon as possible, on Tuesday called for patience in the matter.
Provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for the banned drug clenbuterol, Contador’s future is hanging in the balance. If suspended for two years, he has threatened to quit the sport.
McQuaid, speaking in Paris at the presentation of the 2011 Tour, said he has been working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency on the Contador case.
But the Irishman said every possible aspect must be studied before any decision can be made on the Spaniard’s future.
“This is a very important case and we have to be completely sure … if and when the decision is taken where exactly we’re going,” McQuaid told reporters.
“It’s quite complicated. WADA are doing work with scientists and specialists in this area and we’re waiting for the results to come back.”
McQuaid admitted the high profile of Contador, the most successful Tour de France rider this decade outside retired seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, must be settled as quickly as possible.
But he said the UCI will take as long as it needs to come to a fair conclusion.
“I have no idea how long it is going to take. From my understanding it’s a very complicated process,” added McQuaid.
“In fairness to everybody, in fairness to Contador, to the sport and to the Tour de France, we need to go into the detail to make sure the decisions, whatever they might be, are the correct decisions.”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme made an almost immediate reference to Contador Tuesday as he unveiled the route for 2011.
But at least the Spaniard did not suffer the same ignominous fate as some riders who have been caught cheating in the past by being erased totally from the short film showing the highlights of July’s race.
“Let’s cut right to the chase,” said Prudhomme. “There has been no conclusion to the Contador case, but we’re hoping there will be quickly.”
McQuaid was at pains to stress that the UCI was doing everything it could to get the Contador case settled.
“I’ve heard in reports recently that the UCI has been dragging its heels, but that is not the case,” he added.
“We’re waiting for WADA to come back with results so we can decide what the next step is.”