All of the debate over tainted meat (not a credible story in Spain, a real possibility if he had been training in China or Mexico), the incredibly small amount of clenbuterol and allegations of plasticizers from blood bags indicating an illegal transfusion (no accepted testing; couldn't really be considered) are moot in the face of hard and fast rules currently governing doping in cycling. Perhaps the rules should be changed to allow for accidental ingestion, tainted meats, and mislabeled supplements, but it was too late for that when Contador's results came back in 2010. The rules were in place and the clenbuterol was in Contador. It should have been "game over" eighteen months ago.
How is AC's case different from Lance Armstrong? Completely. The feds had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance or the team defrauded the government. They apparently couldn't do that. Armstrong never tested positive, unless one believes the claims of failed tests and payoffs. Other than a distant brush with Operacion Puerto before his US Postal days, Contador has generally been considered, if not beyond suspicion, a clean rider. Armstrong was hounded, accused, investigated, tested, harassed and vilified for years, and yet has never been busted. That really pisses a lot of people off, for some reason. After all of the leaks from the "secret" federal Grand Jury and the very public statements of Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, Lance's image is bent but not broken. That could yet change if the WADA can gain access to the grand jury testimony and other evidence gathered at the expense of us taxpayers. I guess if they find truly damning evidence then they can decide that Armstrong didn't win 7 Tours and they could suspend him from .....retirement? And so the hunt goes on.
I could be convinced that Lance was the smartest doper ever or that Contador was completely clean. I could also be convinced that some of the rules need changing and that there should be some point in time at which the witch hunts should cease. The WADA statute of limitations is 8 years, but WADA president John Fahey says, "Circumstances may exist that allow the rule to be set aside."
As a bike racing fan, I'm ready to move on.
I know I'm not really adding anything fresh to this topic, but I just had to say something!