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Contador could escape ban, Spanish newspaper claims

By:
Cycling News
Published:
February 14, 2011, 13:31 GMT,
Updated:
February 14, 2011, 15:55 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference

Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference

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Disciplinary Committee said to be swayed by Contador's defence arguments, Riis calls for patience

The Spanish cycling federation's Disciplinary Committee could acquit Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) of charges that he doped during the Tour de France last summer, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. The committee will inform the three-time winner Tuesday, the newspaper said, citing sources "close to the committee".

Contador is due to travel tomorrow to Portugal and be at the start of the Tour of Algarve on Wednesday, El Pais said.

The Committee had earlier issued a recommendation that Contador be suspended for one year after testing positive for Clenbuterol.

However, he appealed that decision, and cited an article of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) doping regulations which says that a suspension can be eliminated if the rider has no fault or negligence.

The Spaniard claims to have ingested the illegal doping product by unknowingly eating contaminated meat.

If the charges are dismissed, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) . Contador can appeal if the ruling goes against him.

Contador was unavailable for comment but his press officer, Jacinto Vidarte, confirmed that the Spaniard would of course welcome the ruling, however nothing had officially been presented to the rider.

“We’ve not had any official confirmation as of yet. If it’s true then it’s great news but like I said, all the information we have comes from the press,” Vidarte told Cyclingnews.

Asked if Contador and his legal team expected an appeal from either the UCI or WADA to CAS he added:

“I don’t want o speculate. Alberto has spent the last six months waiting for a decision and he’s still waiting now.

“But first we need to know if it’s official or not and then we can think about racing. Maybe there’s a chance he can do Algarve. Physically it could be possible but he has to think about it as it could be too early."

Saxo Bank team boss, Bjarne Riis refused to comment when Cyclingnews contacted him on the situation but did add that he hadn't received any official word from Spain. He called for patience but admitted he had talked to Contador regarding today's speculation.

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