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Contador to get a one year ban?

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
January 25, 2011, 12:43 GMT,
Updated:
January 25, 2011, 13:31 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spanish media claim a verdict could be made on Thursday

The Spanish Cycling Federation could make a decision on Alberto Contador's positive test for Clenbuterol on Thursday, with Spanish media reporting he will receive a one-year ban.

According to reports in both Marca and El Pais, the Competition Committee of the Federación Española de Ciclismo will meet on Thursday after Carmen Victoria Lopez, the judge handling the investigation for the Federation, submits her conclusions.

The UCI has still to send its scientific consultancy dossier on the case to the RFEC but Cyclingnews understands that the dossier is set to arrive in the next few days.

Contador is currently training with his new Saxo Bank-SunGard teammates in Mallorca. His spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told Cyclingnews they know nothing about a possible verdict on Thursday or a one-year ban.

"It's pure speculation by the Spanish media, we don't know when a verdict will be reached. It is up to the Spanish Cycling Federation to decide when they reach a verdict," Vidarte said.

According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, no formal disciplinary hearing will be held, with both Victoria Lopez and Contador’s defence team submitting written documents. Contador’s defence is reported to be almost 100 pages long and reaffirms his claims that the Clenbuterol positive was sparked by eating contaminated meat.

Both Marca and El Pais suggest that Contador will be banned for a year, perhaps because the Clenbuterol consumption could considered involuntary, with any suspension likely to end on August 24, 2011.

Under UCI rules, if Contador is banned, he will also lose his 2010 Tour de France victory. Under RFEC rules, Contador has ten days to appeal against the sentence in Spain. He, the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency could also appeal against the verdict to the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. However, any appeal to the CAS would take several months and mean that Contador would probably miss this year’s Tour de France even if he is cleared.

Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol on the second rest day of last year’s Tour de France in Pau. He has always claimed the positive test was caused by meat that only he ate, brought to the team’s hotel by a friend from Spain. He has threatened to quit the sport if he is suspended. Clenbuterol contamination is common in China and Mexico but official data and controls indicate cases are very rare in Europe after the muscle boosting drug was banned in 1996.

Saxo Bank-SunGard team manager Bjarne Riis and other riders will hold a press conference in Mallorca on Friday but Contador will not participate and will not give interviews while his case is still pending.
 

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