UCI president Pat McQuaid has told The Associated Press that an appeal in Alberto Contador’s doping case was prompted by fears of political meddling within the Spanish cycling federation.
McQuaid told The AP that the UCI’s appeal was necessary to avoid the perception of undue influence in the ongoing “caso Contador” after the Spanish federation reversed its initial decision of a one-year ban to completely clear the Spanish rider on clenbuterol charges in mid-February.
“The Spanish federation received a huge amount of pressure from outside, including from the prime minister and so forth,” McQuaid told The Associated Press at the track cycling world championships. “So it left a great deal of doubt in a lot of people’s minds as to whether there was influence or not. They said there was no influence but the perception was that there could have been. In order to clear up all of that, it was important we give it to an independent … board such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
Contador claims that traces of clenbuterol were found in his system after he ate contaminated beef brought in from Spain for a special dinner on the Tour’s final rest day in the Pyrenees last year.
Spanish officials say they were not influenced by outside forces in making their decision, but several high-profile politicians and government officials chimed in with support of Contador in days before the final ruling. Even Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered his view with a Twitter that’s creating a lot of controversy, by writing: “there’s no legal reason to justify sanctioning Contador.”
“We will accept whatever decision they make,” McQuaid continued. “I think from the credibility of the sport’s point of view, for the fans of cycling, for the family of cycling and everybody it’s important we get a result that everybody believes in.”