Contador happy as case moves forward

Decision still could take several months

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who is provisionally suspended following a positive test for clenbuterol, said Wednesday he was happy his case is finally being handled by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC).

"I'm happy that the case is being handled by the federation because that means we can now move forward," said Contador, who faces a ban from the sport as well as giving up his 2010 yellow jersey.

Contador has claimed his positive result for trace amounts of the banned weight loss/muscle-building drug, following a test on the Tour de France in July, was down to eating contaminated meat - although sceptics suggest he may have inadvertently put clenbuterol back into his system through an illicit and performance-enhancing blood transfusion.

Earlier Wednesday a report in AS sports daily claimed the RFEC would take "at least two months" to decide whether it would sanction Contador or not.

The final decision of the RFEC's Competition Committee on the Spanish rider "will not be known before two months," the federation's chief, Juan Carlos Castano, said.

"Everything depends on arguments that Contador will present and the checks that the Competition Committee will seek from neutral experts to look into the veracity of the evidence presented," AS said.

Under the anti-doping rules of world cycling's governing body, the UCI (International Cycling Union), the RFEC has a maximum of one month to deliver its decision.

The UCI "sets a rule of a one-month deadline to take a decision in doping cases ... but under Spanish anti-doping rules, which is what will be followed, the authorised period is three months," AS said.

Provisionally suspended by the UCI, Contador's future is hanging in the balance. If suspended for two years, he has threatened to quit the sport.

Contador, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, in August signed a two-year contract with the Saxo Bank team.

Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, runner-up behind the Spaniard in the last two editions of the race, has recently quit Saxo Bank and set up a new team with his brother Frank and many other members of the Danish outfit.

© AFP 2010

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