MADRID, Spain (AFP) — The Spanish cycling federation is proposing a one-year suspension for Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, his spokesperson announced Wednesday. The punishment would include stripping Contador of his 2010 Tour title.
Contador has 10 days to present any new evidence or material regarding the proposal. After the federation’s final punishment is released, he can appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The only previous Tour winner to be stripped of his title was Floyd Landis in 2006.
A Contador statement said he will hold a news conference with his team director Bjarne Riis on Friday.
The 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 in cattle, were found in a urine sample taken during the Tour de France.
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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.
Marca said the Spanish Cycling Federation will propose a sanction of one year rather than two because “no one has been able to show how the substance entered” his body, together with the minute quantity of clenbuterol detected.
The rider, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, had threatened to quit the sport if he was suspended .
The 28-year-old, who is training this week with his team, Saxo Bank, on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca, said Tuesday that he was focused on his work.
“I am doing fine, I am motivated, concentrated on my work and what is more 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.