The International Cycling Union (UCI) will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) the dismissal of doping charges against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. The UCI said that its appeal was based on "an in-depth study of the file received from" the Spanish cycling federation.
Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during last summer's Tour de France. The Spanish cycling federation originally recommended a one-year suspension, but ultimately cleared him from doping charges.
The Saxo Bank-SunGard rider had claimed all along that the positive control came from eating contaminated meat, and the Spanish cycling federation accepted his argument. It said that its decision to dismiss the charge was based on a UCI regulatin which says that an athlete can be exonerated if he proves that he had inadvertently ingested a banned product through no fault or negligence on his part.
Contador did not start his season until after the federation's ruling. He won two stages at the Vuelta a Murcia to take the overall title, and currently leads the Volta a Catalunya after winning Wednesday's stage.
UCI explains its decision
The UCI had two main grounds for its decision, spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews. The UCI respects the Spanish federation's proceedings, but after looking at the dossier, it was not convinced that Contador had proved that that the positive doping control was caused by contamination, and decided that cycling deserved to have the highest authority render a final decision.
"Our main goal is not to prove that Contador is guilty. We don't want the head of Contador,” he said. “We have the greatest respect for the proceedings, and that's why we have accepted that Contador can still ride. We want to get to a point where we can be sure and we can give you the guarantee that we did everything we could in order to get the best decision."
Carpani indicated that the CAS is the most impartial and transparent authority and that he was confident that it would conduct a fair examination of the evidence.
“We know that his appeal will once more be painful for cycling. For months longer, we might have more Contador stories. We don't know how long - we don't know the CAS timeline," he told Cyclingnews.
“Contador is free to race until the CAS decision. I can't say what will happen to his current results. We have to wait until the decision of CAS and it will depend on their verdict what will happen to his results.”