D-Day for Contador
Lausanne - Sport's
highest court is preparing to issue its verdict in the doping case of
Alberto Contador, who could be stripped of his 2010 Tour de France
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would issue a
ruling on Monday on whether the Spanish rider was guilty of doping after
testing positive for clenbuterol while winning his third Tour title.
Contador claims the positive test was a result of eating contaminated meat.
World Anti-Doping Agency and cycling governing body UCI appealed to CAS
after a Spanish cycling tribunal exonerated Contador.
could escape suspension or be banned for six months to two years. He has
continued racing and stands to lose all of his results if banned for
more than a year, including winning the Giro d'Italia last season.
could become only the second Tour de France champion to be disqualified
and stripped of victory for doping. The first was Floyd Landis, the
American who lost his 2006 title after testing positive for
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, who finished second at
the 2010 Tour, would be awarded the victory if Contador is stripped of
Contador tested positive on the July 21 rest day. The
positive results were not confirmed publicly until September 2010, when
the UCI announced it had provisionally suspended him pending an
investigation by Spain's cycling body.
The 29-year-old Contador
blamed steak bought from a Basque producer for his high reading of
clenbuterol, which is sometimes used by farmers to fatten up their
Contador was originally cleared last February by the
Spanish cycling federation's tribunal, which rejected a recommendation
to impose a one-year ban. Days earlier, then Spanish Prime Minister Jose
Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Twitter that there was no reason to
punish the rider, who is a sports icon in his home country.
After the UCI and WADA appealed the Spanish verdict, a twice-postponed hearing was eventually heard by CAS in November.
four-day session almost ended in chaos as lawyers for the UCI and WADA
considered walking out when the panel chairman, Israeli lawyer Efraim
Barak, prevented one of their expert witnesses from being questioned
about the science of blood doping and transfusions.
18-month legal case has also raised questions about the status of
clenbuterol in anti-doping rules and the honesty of Spanish farmers. The
drug is banned in Europe.
Contador is one of only five cyclists
to win the three Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro and the
Spanish Vuelta. He also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009.