Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Kroon's wrong: UCI's handling of Contador case was not "almost criminal"

The entire case stinks, but the UCI had
to appeal
(image credit: Félix Arellano CC BY-SA 3.0)
Karsten Kroon has attacked the UCI over their handling of the Contador doping case, terming it "almost criminal." Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the 36-year-old SaxoBank rider says: "A month after his positive control in the 2010 Tour, Alberto was personally called by UCI President Pat McQuaid who told him he wanted to keep the case secret. It was then leaked to a German TV channel, so it came out anyway. Alberto was then cleared by the Spanish Federation, at which point the UCI - having said they wanted to keep it quiet - appealed the judgement."

Kroon seems to misunderstand the UCI. McQuaid did not want to hush up the case in the hope that it would go away - after all and for all his faults, under his presidency the UCI has worked hard to end doping in cycling. What he wanted to do was avoid a scandal that has been enormously damaging both to cycling and to an individual rider and his team.

The Contador case was highly questionable, revolving as it did around the distinctly questionable "burden of proof" legal mechanism which can lead an innocent person to be imprisoned because they can't prove that they're innocent, and Contador received a sentence that was unexpectedly harsh - especially since similar cases have resulted in lighter sentences. Many consider the decision that was eventually reached, therefore, not to be the one that should have been reached. However, simply covering up the case was out of the question and if there was any reason to doubt that the Spanish Federation had not investigated or prosecuted correctly it was the UCI's duty to appea: cycling, which came close to being destroyed by the scandals of 1998 and 2006, is more important than any one rider.

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