Contador, Criteriums, and Clenbuterol

Oct 22 2010

Tyler HamiltonLet’s see…suspended rider to participate in unsanctioned criterium. Why does that sound familiar?

Ah yes—the Tyler Hamilton case. I wish I could tell you more about it, but the massive number of dead links from this otherwise excellent summary article is clouding my memory. Am I the only cycling site on the Internet that knows how to write a 404 page and rock a little .htaccess magic?

Anyway, my understanding of the events surrounding the Stazio crits is that the UCI threatened to suspend clean riders for attending under a rarely-enforced regulation that prevents license-holders from racing at unsanctioned events.

My reaction at the time came down pretty heavily against USA Cycling—whose subservience had nothing do to with an alleged cover-up of another American’s positive test, I’m sure—but in hindsight, the UCI was probably equally out of line for enforcing a rule that would bankrupt many European riders.

But with Contador’s plan to race in Spain this November, it seems the shoe’s on the other side of the Atlantic. Following another high-profile setback on the enforcement of its biological passport program, the UCI should be feeling the pressure to at least appear to be serious about enforcing its rules.

Their treatment of the Contador case has been roundly assailed for its sloth and opacity, and in the past Pat McQuaid has appeared more than willing use the rule as leverage in situations as trivial as his yard-measuring contest with The Cartel. I can’t imagine the fallout if he fails to threaten everyone else at at the race with punishment for racing with Contador.

As for the Spaniard’s case, a recent high-profile Clenbuterol bust in the Canary Islands is being pitched as a potential win for the defense, since it seems to contradict Spanish agricultural claims that clenbuterol is not administered to livestock.

But I think it’s far more significant that the Canaries have long been favored as a training ground by Grand Tour winning cyclists—including Contador himself—as well as a base of operation and frequent travel location for some very infamous doctors.

So while I continue to think it’s a bit of a dick move to fine-print riders into saying what races they can and cannot do, it might just be the soundest course of action for an organization that’s struggling to prove their rules are worth the paper on which they’re written.

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5 Responses to “Contador, Criteriums, and Clenbuterol”

  1. Jason October 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    The UCI is kind of a joke anymore. I don’t think they could run a lemonade stand successfully.

  2. Hammerhed October 24, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    I don’t understand Contador’s actions. He knows Paddy doesn’t want to harm him in any way, so why does he make life miserable for the man by racing for a hundred bucks in some god-forsaken hole? If AC needs to feel the love, all he has to do is to show up as a guest and shake everyone’s hands and listen to their sympathy about how he is getting shafted. Then again, maybe Alberto feels he needs to strut about a bit to show McQuaid that riders rule not old fat farts.

  3. Triple Crankset November 2, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Is the UCI taking notice of a suspended rider riding last weekend in an unsanctioned criterium in the U.S.? Let’s hope so.

  4. Nick November 3, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    TC, going to assume you’re kidding and not that stupid…Of course, after today’s elections, I’m not sure if I should be giving anyone the benefit of the doubt.

  5. bike clothing September 7, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    i am not sure if i know this cycling team in picture .

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