The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled Alberto Contador should serve a two-year ban following his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
CAS has upheld the UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale] and WADA's [World Anti-Doping Agency] appeal against the Spanish Cycling Federation's decision not to ban Contador after he claimed the substance came from contaminated Spanish beef.
The 29-year-old Spaniard has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Contador will be free to race again from 6th August 2012: the CAS ruling states his ban officially started on 25th January 2011, but he was provisionally banned for almost six months before that.
A UCI statement released on Monday read: " ... the UCI has not derived a sense of satisfaction from the CAS ruling, but rather welcomes the news as the end of a long-running affair that has been extremely painful for cycling."
Contador was riding for Astana alongside Lance Armstrong when he won the 2010 Tour. Andy Schleck, then riding for Saxo-Bank, finished second after a controversial event, and will now be given the official title.
Fran Contador, the cyclist's brother and agent, has reportedly told a Spanish radio station that he will continue racing, despite a previous claim that he would retire from the sport should he be found guilty.
Meanwhile, in a statement released by his current team RadioShack Nissan Trek, Andy Schleck said:
"There is no reason to be happy now. First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. This is just a very sad day for cycling. The only positive news is that there is a verdict after 566 days of uncertainty. We can finally move on."
News of Contador's positive test first emerged in September 2010. In January 2011, the Spanish Cycling Federation announced their decision not to suspend him, which prompted the joint UCI/WADA appeal to CAS. CAS heard the case in November 2011 and their decision was made public today, Monday 6th February 2012.
The UCI statement continued: "The UCI acknowledges the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to impose a suspension of 2 years on the rider Alberto Contador following the UCI’s appeal, brought in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in the case concerning the Spanish cyclist.
"In rejecting the defence argument, in particular that the presence of clenbuterol in Alberto Contador's urine sample came from the consumption of contaminated meat, today's ruling confirms the UCI's position."
CAS have published a 98-page ruling on their website.
UCI president Pat McQuaid added in their statement: "This is a sad day for our sport … some may think of it as a victory but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping: and every case irrespective of its characteristics is a case too many.”
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