ALBERTO CONTADOR SHOULD be allowed to race in the Tour de France, although the result will be questioned until the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules on his doping case, IOC President Jacques Rogge said.
Three-time champion Contador will start the 2-24 July event because the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Cycling Union agreed to his lawyers request to delay the hearing at sports’ highest court.
“The lawyers of Contador thought that they needed more time, and as long as WADA and UCI agreed with that, I see no problem,” Rogge told reporters.
CAS rescheduled the case for Aug. 1-3 after initially planning a hearing and verdict in June. Rogge acknowledged that the timing leaves uncertainty hanging over the outcome of cycling’s signature race.
“I agree that it will cast a question mark on the validity of the result until the verdict is rendered … but there is a presumption of innocence,” the International Olympic Committee leader said.
WADA and the UCI appealed to CAS after the Spanish cycling federation agreed with Contador that he inadvertently consumed clenbuterol while winning last year’s race.
The Spanish tribunal accepted the rider’s explanation that a tiny amount of the drug found in his urine samples came from eating contaminated steak on a rest day.
“It is a highly technical issue, it is a very difficult scientific issue,” Rogge said.
Contador will start the Tour as the favorite after winning the Giro d’Italia last month.
If the CAS panel finds him guilty of doping, Contador faces a ban of up to two years and being stripped of all his results since last July, including the 2010 Tour victory.
Contador also would be banned under existing IOC rules from competing in the 2012 London Olympics. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he placed fourth in the time trial and failed to finish the road race.