Before we jump to a whole raft of conclusions, let’s give Alberto Contador the benefit of the doubt, writes Anthony Tan
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Hang on, let's wait a moment.

Before we
all start saying this is the 2006 Tour de France all over again and
feel like we've spent another three-and-half weeks in July watching a
non-event, we, as respectful members of the cycling community, need to
give Alberto Contador the benefit of the doubt.

Remember, it was
the statement from the UCI – not Contador's press office – that said the
amount of clenbuterol found in Contador's A-sample urine test was "400
times less than what the anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA
[the World Anti-Doping Agency] must be able to detect", with the B
sample confirming a trace element so small, Dutch anti-doping expert,
Douwe de Boer, affirmed it would offer not the slightest performance
gain.

"To be honest, we need all the information; at the moment
it doesn't make much sense," said David Millar after Thursday's silver
medal performance in the Worlds time trial, "in the fact it was a rest
day control and a micro-dose of a steroid stimulant, like Salbutamol."

Millar,
who used EPO to win the time trial world title in 2003 before being
stripped of the crown – that went to Michael Rogers – said after a
two-year suspension and four years riding clean, as well as being a
staunch anti-doping advocate, "I like to think I'm beyond vindication
now".

"So I think there are a lot of questions that need to be
answered," Millar said of the dilemma Contador now faces, "and I,
one-hundred percent, give Alberto the full benefit of the doubt, because
you have to understand these things can be quite complicated.

"And
it's a shame that it's out there, when it could be something completely
innocent – so let's wait and see," offered Millar.

And while
Floyd Landis is far from being beyond reproach, some of what he did say
during the 'New Pathways for Pro Cycling' conference earlier in the week
makes sense. "To single out a rider every two weeks or two months or
how often it is and tear them down and say, 'Look what we're doing ,
we're fixing the problem', is in fact counterproductive because it hurts
the sport; it makes the reputation of everyone else, whether guilty or
innocent, tarnished because of that."

"We can't ignore [doping],
but we also have to accept that it's here to stay," said Landis.

"So,
at the very least," he said, "I think we should accept that the
problem's here to stay but we need to work towards some sort of solution
that doesn't destroy the sport in the process in trying to fix the
problem."

The public knowing a cyclist tested positive without
fully knowing or understanding why is part of the problem; not the
solution.

Contador says it was contaminated food in some meat he
ate before the July 21 test. Let's see if that is indeed the case
before writing him, and by extension, the sport of cycling, off once
again.