'Consider Contador a cheat'
Lausanne - Alberto Contador should be considered a "cheat" now that he has been found guilty of doping and stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Tuesday.
"Anyone who is found by a tribunal in a matter in which he was found to be a cheat, is a cheat," John Fahey said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"The simple fact is that anyone who has a prohibited substance in their system is a cheat. It is as simple as that. The only argument then comes as to what was the nature of how that prohibited substance got into the athlete's system. But you're a cheat, effectively, the moment you've got that substance in there."
The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday held the Spaniard responsible for his failed doping test at the 2010 Tour, which he won. It rejected Contador's claim that eating a contaminated steak caused him to test positive for clenbuterol, a banned performance-enhancer that helps build muscle and burn fat.
The three CAS arbitrators said Contador's test result could have come from eating a contaminated food supplement. They said that scenario appeared more likely than suggestions he was contaminated either by a bad steak or, as WADA argued, by a banned performance-enhancing blood transfusion.
"Every day a cheat is caught it is a good day for sport," Fahey said of the ruling. "The findings are clear. They had no doubt with a unanimous decision that a prohibited substance was in his system and they did not accept — and I stress this — they did not accept that that substance got into his system through contaminated meat."
The CAS verdict in Lausanne was delivered 566 days after Contador cycled triumphantly along the Champs d'Elysees in Paris in 2010. Contador's case was slowed by numerous delays and mounds of evidence presented by both sides. In the CAS proceedings, the legal file alone ran to 4 000 pages.
"It is regrettable that it took so long, but it is hard to say that it could have happened any quicker," Fahey said.
Despite the two-year doping ban for Contador, one of cycling's biggest stars since the retirement of seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong, Fahey said that the sport is now cleaner than it ever has been. Cycling has poured millions into its "blood passport" testing program that aims to catch and dissuade cheats by keeping close tabs on their blood readings.
"There is now a far more comprehensive program in cycling than there ever was before," Fahey said.