Cycling

Contador blasts 'unfair' ban

2011-01-27 21:57

Palma de Majorca - Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has said he feels he has been "unfairly punished" by the sport's ruling body, which has suspended him for one year for a positive doping test, his spokesman said Thursday.

"He's disappointed, because he is innocent and feels he is being unfairly punished," said Jacinto Vidarte.

Contador was at his Saxo's team hotel in Palma, on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca, while the rest of his teammates continued training.

"He is not able to train, and in this situation it does not make much sense," Vidarte said.

The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) on Wednesday informed Contador of its recommendation of a one-year suspension for his positive drugs test from the 2010 Tour de France.

But it left it to the discretion of the three-time Tour de France champion as to whether he made it public.

The 28-year-old rider has 10 days to appeal, but faces becoming only the second Tour de France champion to be stripped of his title, after American Floyd Landis in 2006.

The rider is scheduled to appear at a news conference in Palma Friday afternoon, along with the Saxo team's technical director, Bjarne Riis.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) had provisionally suspended Contador in August, in advance of a decision on his immediate future by the REFC, after trace amounts of clenbuterol, a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug also used to fatten cattle, were found in a urine sample taken during the Tour de France.

Contador denies any wrongdoing, and says he unknowingly ingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France during the second rest day of the Tour, just four days before he won his third title on 25 July.

Clenbuterol was banned by the European Union in 1996, but it is still administered illicitly by some cattle farmers.

Spanish media said on Thursday the one-year ban would spare him a financial penalty, as a two-year suspension would automatically force him to return 70 percent of his 2010 salary, or 3.1 million euros.

It was unclear when the date of the ban would begin.

Contador was provisionally suspended on 24 August, 2010 after being informed by the UCI of his positive test.

If taken from this date and suspended for one year, Contador would miss the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and probably the Tour of Spain in 2011. He would also be shorn of his 2010 Tour of France title.

Read more on:    alberto contador  |  tdf
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