Reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is said to be on the brink of receiving a one year ban from the sport as well as being stripped of his third Tour de France title, which he claimed by 39 seconds in 2010.
The sanction will be handed down by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) after the then Astana Team rider tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol during the final stages of the 2010 Tour. Since that time the Spanish cyclist has vehemently claimed his innocence, stating the irregularity can be explained due to contaminated meat which the Astana chef prepared for the team.
Since that time there have been numerous investigations into the supposed meat that was prepared for the Kazakhstan based team, but no evidence to support Contador’s defence have been discovered.
Contador has stated since the allegations first appeared that, if found guilty, he would turn his back on the sport as a whole and quit; the Madrid born cyclist has been suspended since last August while the investigations have taken place. This has stopped Contador for donning the jersey of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard, whom he signed with shortly after the 2010 Tour had concluded.
It is at this stage uncertain as to whether Andy Schleck, now Contador’s team mate at Team Saxo Bank-SunGard but during the 2010 Tour, his biggest rival will be handed the title of 2010 Tour de France champion.
Contador finished just 39 seconds ahead of the Swiss cyclist during one of the closest battles for the yellow jersey in many a year. The Tour, as well as Contador himself, was not without controversy as during the latter stages of cycling’s most prestigious Contador took advantage of a mechanical failure when Schleck’s chain came loose and fell off. During that time Contador piled on the pressure and put space between himself and his rival. By the end of the stage the Spaniard was 39 seconds ahead of Schleck, exactly the winning margin as Contador picked up the title once again.
It is thought that Contador has been told of the impending ban which has been leaked by some of the Spanish press prior to an official announcement by the Spanish Cycling Federation tomorrow.
Contador, if banned, will have ten days in which to lodge an appeal to the World Anti-Doping Agency, while he could even go as far as the Court of Arbitration in Sport is he so wishes.