It’s official: the Spanish cycling federation has cleared Alberto Contador of doping charges in a dramatic U-turn in his ongoing case of alleged use of clenbuterol.
Contador’s legal team was notified by the Spanish cycling federation just after 4 p.m. Spanish time Tuesday, his lawyer told AFP.
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The four-member disciplinary board of the Spanish cycling federation reversed its previous proposed ban of one-year to absolve Contador on the clenbuterol charges.
“We can confirm the dropping (of the case),” the lawyer, Andy Ramos, told reporters.
“At this time, Alberto can race and justice has been done.”
“The( UCI)”can appeal,” he said. “For our part, we will not.”
Contador should be cleared to return to competition and in his spokesman said he expect him to start the five-day Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday. Contador, the defending champion, is registered on the start list with Saxo Bank-Sungard.
“If everything goes well, the rider will take the start, tomorrow, at the Volta ao Algarve,” said an email from Contador’s spokesman.
While Contador’s legal may have won an initial battle, the war is not yet won. Both the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency would have 30 days to file their intention to appeal the ruling.
The daily El Mundo said the RFEC “accepted the theory of food contamination and the absence of any blame or negligence, based on article 296″ of the UCI’s anti-doping regulations.
Article 296 states:
If the Rider establishes in an individual case that he bears No Fault or Negligence, the otherwise applicable period of Ineligibility shall be eliminated. When a Prohibited Substance or its Markers or Metabolites is detected in a Rider’s Sample as referred to in article 21.1 (presence of a Prohibited Substance), the Rider must also establish how the Prohibited Substance entered his system in order to have the period of Ineligibility eliminated. In the event this article is applied and the period of Ineligibility otherwise applicable is eliminated, the anti-doping rule violation shall not be considered a violation for the limited purpose of determining the period of Ineligibility for multiple violations under articles 306 to 312.