Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has received a one-year-ban from the Spanish Cycling Federation 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 with the body refusing to say what it 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 1600 hours (0200 AEDT, Saturday), at the Hotel Son Net in Palma de Mallorca, to express their opinion about this case.”
After being informed of the federation’s decision, Contador will have 10 days to present any new evidence or material.
The only previous Tour winner to be stripped of their title was Floyd Landis 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 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, has threatened to quit the sport if he is suspended for two years.
The 28-year-old, who is training this week with his team, Saxo Bank, on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca, said he was focused on his work.
“I am doing fine, I am motivated, concentrated on my work and what is mort important right now is that I block out everything around me and concentrate and work, that is what is going to bear fruit in the future,” he said.
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.
by Buford Balony