By Nigel Wynn
Alberto Contador has been banned for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed on Monday.
CAS found that Contador was guilty of a doping offence, and imposed a two-year, back-dated suspension which commenced on January 25 2011, minus the amount of provisional suspension served (five months and 19 days). The suspension will end on August 5 2012.
Contador will also be fined, the amount of which will be published after a further decision by CAS at a later date. The UCI has requested that the fine be at least €2,485,000.
CAS concluded that Contador's positive for clenbuterol was more "likely to have been caused by the ingestion of contaminated food supplement than by a blood transfusion or the ingestion of contaminated meat" and that there was no evidence that Contador "acted with no fault or negligence".
The CAS verdict statement said: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision in the arbitration between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) & the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador & the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC): the CAS has partially upheld the appeals filed by WADA and the UCI and has found Alberto Contador guilty of a doping offence.
"As a consequence, Alberto Contador is sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility starting retroactively on 25 January 2011, minus the period of the provisional suspension served in 2010-2011 (5 months and 19 days). The suspension should therefore come to an end on 5 August 2012."
The long-awaited verdict means that the Spaniard will lose the 2010 Tour de France title, in addition to all other results gained since then including the 2011 Giro d'Italia stages and overall; 2011 Tour of Murica stages and overall; and wins at the 2012 Tour of San Luis.
Union Cycliste International (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said of the verdict: "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: every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many."
The Court of Arbitration for Sport delivered the verdict on Monday, February 6, after hearing the case in November 21-24 2011.
Contador failed a test for clenbuterol on the 2010 Tour's second rest day in Pau on July 21. He claimed that the banned substance was ingested via a tainted steak brought to France from Spain by a friend.
The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) cleared Contador in mid-February 2011 allowing him to return to racing. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) then took the case to CAS in an attempt to get a suspension for Contador.
2010 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck is set to inherit the 2010 Tour title from Contador, with Italian Michele Scarponi set to gain the 2011 Giro d'Italia title.
Hushovd reacts to Contador decision
Schleck reacts to Contador ban
Contador's clenbuterol case in brief
Alberto Contador: Rider Profile
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