Frustrated Evans "mystified" by Contador delays

SYDNEY Tue May 31, 2011 11:57pm EDT

BMC's team rider Cadel Evans of Australia celebrates on the podium after winning the Tour de Romandie cycling race in Geneva May 1, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

BMC's team rider Cadel Evans of Australia celebrates on the podium after winning the Tour de Romandie cycling race in Geneva May 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tour de France contender Cadel Evans is mystified as to why Alberto Contador's doping case is taking so long to resolve and is hoping for a final decision sooner rather than later.

Three-times winner Contador was cleared to ride in the July 2-24 Tour de France Tuesday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said its ruling over a positive test for a banned anabolic agent would be postponed until August.

Australian Evans, who has twice finished runner-up in the world's most prestigious cycling race and is a leading contender this year with the BMC team, betrayed some frustration with the lengthy process.

"In many of these situations someone is guilty or not guilty, I just hope that justice prevails," the 34-year-old told the Geelong Advertiser in Italy.

"If he is innocent, well, I hope he is proven innocent and if he is guilty, well, he deserves to be punished.

"Why is it taking so long? Well that is the question. I am a little bit with everyone else on that one ... a little bit mystified I guess.

"In our job we get paid, we get paid more when we go faster but with some lawyers it seems to be the other way around.

"I guess you have to be sure of these things and to be sure well these things take time. I, like with everyone involved, would just like a decision ... we need to get a final outcome.

"I don't know why in cycling these things keep happening. Other sports have similar problems but seem to settle them quickly. But in cycling we are going on for nearly 12 months in this situation."

Spaniard Contador tested positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour and was cleared by the Spanish federation before the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed the decision.

Until CAS gives its verdict, Contador, who won the Giro d'Italia last Sunday, is allowed to race, although Tour de France organizers can ban a rider if they feel he may tarnish the event's image.

Evans, who skipped the Giro and will instead use next week's Criterium du Dauphine in France as his final warm-up for the Tour, believes he could beat Contador if the Spaniard took part.

"I can only look at myself and my team as being in the best form possible to win the Tour," he told the paper. "Of course I believe I can win. I think he's beatable at the Tour de France. Everyone is human."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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