Madrid - Tour de France champion Alberto Contador says he may quit cycling if he is banned for doping.
"If this is not resolved favourably and in just fashion then I would have to consider whether I would ever get back on a bike," Contador told Spanish broadcaster Telecinco as he fights off after a positive test for clenbuterol, a banned substance, during this year's Tour.
Contador has been provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after he announced his positive test Friday - but he insists he is the victim of contaminated food, saying he ate some contaminated meat brought in from Spain.
Even so, Contador, who tested positive for a minute quantity of the substance on July 21, professed himself in his interview broadcast Saturday night to be "very optimistic" that he will be absolved.
"I think this will all be resolved in a favourable manner," insisted the three-times champion.
UCI chief Pat McQuaid says Contador could have his fate decided by scientists from the union and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
World cycling's ruling body itself says only a "very small concentration" of the drug had been found and that the case warranted "further scientific investigation" because the Cologne laboratory which detected the clenbuterol is known to be able to detect the tiniest traces of drugs.
"The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms which is 400 times less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) must be able to detect," the UCI said Friday, adding that analysis of a B sample "confirmed the first".