Tour de France champion Alberto Contador received a one year ban from the Spanish Cycling Federation on Wednesday for his positive drugs test from the 2010 Tour de France, his spokesperson announced.
The 28-year-old had been informed of his punishment by the federation earlier on Wednesday with the body refusing to say what they had recommended, leaving it to the discretion of the three-time Tour de France champion as to whether he made it public.
He later released a terse statement through his spokesperson.
“Alberto Contador has received today a notification of one year ban proposal by the Competition Committee of the Spanish Federation,” said the spokesperson. “Therefore, together with Bjarne Riis (director of his team Saxo Bank), a Press Conference will be held next Friday, January 28, at 16:00 hours (1500GMT), at the Hotel Son Net in Palma de Mallorca, to express their opinion about this case.”
The rider has 10 days to appeal, but faces becoming only the second Tour de France champion to be stripped of his title.
American Floyd Landis was shorn of his crown in 2006.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) provisionally suspended Contador in August in advance of a decision on his immediate future by the REFC after trace amounts of clenbuterol, a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug also used to fatten cattle, were found in a urine sample taken during the Tour de France.
Contador denies any wrongdoing and says he unknowingly ingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France during the second rest day of the Tour, just four days before he won his third title on July 25.
Clenbuterol was banned by the European Union in 1996 but it is still administered illicitly by some cattle farmers.
It is listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency as an anabolic agent that is prohibited for use by athletes at all times, both in and out of competition.
In similar ways to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine, clenbuterol can have short-term stimulant effects, including increasing aerobic capacity, blood pressure and alertness.
The rider, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, had threatened to quit the sport if he was suspended for two years.
Contador is training this week with his team on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca.
Contador signed a two-year contract with the Saxo Bank in August 2010 after Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, runner-up behind the Spaniard in the last two editions of the race, quit the team to set up his own outfit with his brother Frank and several other members of the Danish outfit.
© AFP 2011