Free Fuyu Li!

Like, right fricking now.

Fuyu Li's case is as follows: Li, a 32-year-old rider for Radio Shack, tested positive for clenbuterol during 2010 Dwars door Vlaanderen. The amount of clen in his system was in the range of 0.05-0.10 nanograms, approximately the same minute amount in the Contador case, and like Contador Li disputes any intention to dope. Unlike Contador, Li comes from a country (China) where clenbuterol routinely does occur in meat, so if anything his defense that he accidentally ingested clen through normal food rings particularly true.

Logic... or attempted logic, on the flip:

Li was suspended by Radio Shack, as is the ordinary reaction, and there have been mutterings about the Chinese cycling federation imposing a two-year ban. I have googled the matter several times and can't turn up any evidence of the Chinese federation taking action. It does appear he was fired by Radio Shack in August following the B-sample.

Li is the epitome of a powerless rider. He's not an up-and-coming star, his federation is a minor player in most respects (apart perhaps from probably owning the debts of all the other federations), and he has no current team. Nobody is going to fight for him, except maybe at home where he was a star. Perhaps the Chinese federation was waiting for a precedent to work with and will follow along with what Spain just did.

If they do not, or worse, if the UCI accepts the Contador decision but pursues punishment for Li, then the sport is little better off than it was in the freewheeling doping days of yore. Just my opinion, as usual, but a big part of the challenge is for cycling to remove the cynicism exemplified by, say, Landis as discussed in his Kimmage interview [shorter Floyd: resistance was futile], that there's no point in trying to fight an unjust system. If the "system" (can you even call it that?) continues to treat Alberto Contador differently than Fuyu Li, then it's as messed up as it was when Hein Verbruggen allegedly made positive tests disappear for certain guys. The next person to come along and implore us fans to believe should consider this matter. And this. And this.

Right now, China has the chance to set things partially right, though for amends to be complete I think Radio Shack should reach out to Li, after prematurely zapping his career. Then we'll see if the UCI has any sense of justice or at least consistency.

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