Right or wrong - good or bad, I have no choice but to accept the Spanish referee's decision clearing Alberto Contador of intentionally doping, writes Michael Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Thank God it's over! For now, at least.

The decision has been
made and we can go on with following and loving professional cycling for
what it is - a grand sporting spectacle.

Right or wrong - good
or bad, I have no choice but to accept the Spanish referee's decision
clearing Alberto Contador of intentionally doping.

Let me be
clear, I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with the decision.

But
I must confess there are big question marks still hanging over the
judicial system currently operating in that country.

And I'm not
prepared to say that we've heard the last of this subject as the
International Cycling Union (UCI), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and
ultimately the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) may have a final say
at whether Contador makes it all the way to the Tour de France in July.

Whatever
happens Contador has learned a hard and valuable lesson as a result and
there's no way he'll compete with any banned substances in his system -
is there?

In this modern world of professional cycling where
testing is performed around the clock, you would hope Contador fully
understands the consequences and the humiliation he will face if he sins
again.

He will banished for life in everything he does and
everywhere he travels. I'm sure he understand it's just not worth it.

Of
course some also thought the same of Riccardo Ricco and were proved
very wrong.

There's no doubt cycling will lose many followers as a
result of the Spanish Federation clearing their top rider, and some
cynics insist the decision will setback the sport some 15 years.

On
that, we'll have to wait and see, but I'd be surprised if that was the
case. One man and one decision cannot be bigger than a sport which dates
back more than 120 years.

Professional cycling has weathered
many doping blows in the past and yet here it still stands. Bloodied but
still fighting on.

And remember, the professional peloton is not
entirely filled with cheats. Spare a thought for those who correctly
abide by the doping systems put in place and ride to race and race to
win - cleanly.

Those are the men who really define the sport, choosing
to do it the hard way, without short-cuts to fame and fortune.

If
Contador wasn't clean in the past, I'd like to think he will be totally
cleansed in the future, therefore I am prepared to welcome him back to
the peloton - with reservations.