Feeling dazed and confused? Lost in a see of argument and counter-argument? Yes, we have entered the doping case zone, always a place of maximum confusion and misdirection. Already, we know more about phlatates, European meat production, and Astana's eating habits than we ever wanted to know. And already, we have a laundry list of questions, some of which may never receive answers.
Looking for a cheat sheet? Allow me to recommend two articles on the case that offer one-stop shopping:
First, roll on over to EPSN and read Bonnie Ford, FAQ Contador's Suspension. This story, which is exactly what it sounds like, came out late last week. The article does not address the "plastics" question, but otherwise is a nice survey of the Clen part of the story.
In today's episode of the Boulder Report, Joe Lindsey gives us a Journo's wish list of questions about the case. Lindsey includes some pointed questions for McQuaid ( did you instruct Contador to remain silent about the case, and if so why?) and for journalists like Damien Ressiot and Hans Seppelt of ARD (what are your organizations standards for anonymous sourced reports? What confirmation do you require before publishing?).
Meanwhile, the case continues to grind on. In a statement to the Spanish press, Contador asserted that he expects a rapid resolution, perhaps as early as the end of this week. No confirmation has surfaced from the UCI of this rosy optimism.
Update, Tuesday: In today's New York Times, Juliet Macur digs into the "plasticizer" test under the headline, "Tour Champ Fails Second Test." She cites Mr. Anonymous I Have Knowledge of the Test Results, But I Can't Tell You Who I Am, as the source for the information that Contador's sample has in fact been tested for plastic residues likely from blood bags. Also, the article addresses "validation" question, with one WADA expert guy suggesting that the test results could be used on a "case by case" basis, though WADA has not yet adopted the test for official use. It's worth noting that in this context "validation" is as much, if not more, a legal term, than a scientific one. The science may be well-established, but the authorities have yet to integrate the science into the legal code.