World cycling's governing body UCI confirmed Monday they have requested that the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) open disciplinary proceedings against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who failed a drugs test.
The Spanish federation have two days to inform Contador of the opening of the procedure which must be completed within a month, with the decision expected before the end of the year.
Contador, 27, won his third yellow jersey in July, but it was later revealed that he tested positive for trace amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol during the second rest day of the Tour de France at Pau on July 21.
Contador claims he ate contaminated meat, although sceptics suggest he may have inadvertently put clenbuterol - a weight-loss and muscle-building drug - back into his system via an illicit and performance-enhancing blood transfusion.
Contador's side reacted calmly to the news.
"It is the normal procedure, indeed one we hoped for, that the Spanish Federation would decide on the case," said Jacinto Vidarte, chief press officer for Contador. "Contador will be able to present all the documentation and demonstrate that it was a case of contaminated food."
The RFEC announced later in a statement that they would act with the utmost haste to take care of the matter.
"The anti-doping department of the UCI transferred to us all the documentation with regard to this affair, demanding the opening of a disciplinary procedure as according to the anti-doping regulations laid down by the UCI," it said.
"As with immediate effect and in accordance with the sport's international rules, the RFEC will undertake all the necessary action to cast light on and resolve the questions raised by the positive test of the rider."
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.
If Contador were to be sanctioned he would be stripped of this year's Tour de France crown with the title going to Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, who finished runner-up for the second straight year behind Contador.
However in the case of American Floyd Landis, stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping, Spaniard Oscar Pereiro was only officially declared winner fourteen months later.
Contador, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, in August signed a two-year contract with the former Saxo Bank team of Schleck.
Spanish chief hoping for happy outcome for Contador
Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) chief Juan Carlos Castano said Tuesday he was hoping for a happy resolution to disciplinary proceedings being taken against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador who failed a drugs test during this year's race.
World cycling's governing body UCI on Monday handed the Contador case over to his national federation RFEC, telling them to deal with the issue.
And RFEC president Castano said he hoped the would be able to clear Contador's name.
"My hope is that this matter will be favourable to the (Spanish) sportsman," Castano told Spanish public radio RNE. "I've known him since he was in the junior teams and I can't help but put myself in his position."
© AFP 2010