Tour de France - Contador could race after delay

Tue, 31 May 18:25:00 2011

Triple Tour de France champion Alberto Contador could take part in this year's race after his hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport over a failed dope test was postponed until August.

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CAS said on its website (www.tas-cas.org) on Tuesday that Contador's hearing would take place from August 1-3. The Tour de France runs from July 2-24.

Spaniard Contador, who tested positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour, was cleared by the Spanish federation (RFEC) but the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the decision.

Until CAS gives its verdict, Contador, who won the Giro d'Italia last Sunday, is allowed to race.

The SaxoBank-Sungard rider, one of only five men with titles in all three grand tours, is to aim for a first Giro/Tour double since Marco Pantani's in 1998, according to his team manager Bjarne Riis.

Contador, however, hinted last weekend he was unsure he would ride the Tour.

According to UCI regulations, Tour de France organisers can ban a rider from entering the race if they feel he may tarnish the event's image.

In 2009, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) tried to bar former world champion Tom Boonen from entering the race after the Belgian tested positive for cocaine in an out-of-competition test.

Boonen appealed the decision before CAS, who overruled ASO's decision following an emergency hearing.

Tour de France organisers, however, said they would not block Contador's participation as the case was still ongoing.

"So yes, Alberto Contador can start the Tour," Tour director Christian Prudhomme, who also hit out at WADA and the UCI, told Reuters.

"We wanted a quick resolution, before the Tour, but it looks like it was too much asking.

"No ruling body - the UCI or CAS - opposed Contador's presence on races this year. They did not even oppose the hearing's postponement."

If found guilty, Contador, who denies any wrongdoing, faces a possible two-year ban and will be stripped of his 2010 Tour title.

Reuters

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