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Although over a month has elapsed since an anti-doping tribunal in South Africa cleared Daryl Impey in relation to his positive test, it has been confirmed that UCI and WADA still have time to consider if they will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Under anti-doping rules, appeals must be lodged within 30 days. While Impey was cleared on August 29th, the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) confirmed to CyclingTips on Friday that the deadline had not passed.
“I think there are still about ten days left,” its CEO Khalid Galant said. “The thirty days works from when they [the UCI] received the reasoned decision, not from the date of the decision being announced.
“We haven’t had any indication yet if they will be lodging an appeal. We haven’t heard anything from them as yet. That silence doesn’t mean if they are going to appeal or not; they still have time.”
The South African rider, who led last year’s Tour de France, was told in June by his country’s national federation that he had tested positive for the banned diuretic Probenicid at the country’s national time trial championships in February.
Impey, who races with the Orica GreenEdge WorldTour team, maintained his innocence. He insisted that he had no knowledge of Probenicid and that he had never taken the substance knowingly in any manner.
His defence was based on his insistence that he had gone to a pharmacy prior to the championships to try to buy empty capsules to fill with bicarbonate of soda. He intended taking the legal substance as a lactic acid buffer, but said that the capsules were inadvertently contaminated by a pharmacist who had handled probenecid prior to touching them.
Till receipts were produced during the hearing and apparently confirmed the story.
At the time Galant said that SAIDS looked into the defence and ultimately accepted it.
“Under the Anti-Doping Rules, SAIDS is required to vigorously pursue all anti-doping rule violations within our jurisdiction. We did so and checked the veracity of Impey’s account to the fullest extent possible. We sought opinions from our own experts, which confirmed that cross-contamination was indeed possible in the manner proposed by Impey’s experts.”
The news he had been cleared was greeted by his supporters, but also led to raised eyebrows from others.
Parallels have been drawn between his case and that of Alberto Contador. During the 2010 Tour de France anti-doping tests showed traces of clenbuterol. Contador denied knowingly using the substance which, like probenecid, is banned.
He was cleared by the Spanish federation but both WADA and the UCI appealed this to CAS. The court ultimately ruled that a contaminated supplement was the most likely cause, absolving him of deliberately ingesting clenbuterol. However, under the strict liability ruling, it handed him a ban and annulled his victory in that Tour plus a number of subsequent results.
Today’s news means that Impey must wait several more days before knowing if the case is indeed over or if he will have to mount a defence before CAS.