Mon February 6, 2012
Court Strips Contador Of 2010 Tour De France Victory
Sport's highest court has stripped Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador of his 2010 Tour de France title.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the Spanish Cycling Federation's decision that said Contador had accidentally ingested clenbuterol, a performance enhancing drug, by eating a contaminated steak.
The CAS was deciding on an appeal launched by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI).
"'CAS has partially upheld the appeals filed by WADA and the UCI and has found Alberto Contador guilty of a doping offense,' CAS said in a statement.
"'As a consequence, Alberto Contador is sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility starting retroactively on 25 January 2011, minus the period of the provisional suspension served in 2010-2011 (5 months and 19 days). The suspension should therefore come to an end on 5 August 2012.'
"CAS added that the 'presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement' than by contaminated meat."
In other words, the CAS did not buy Contador's argument that ingestion was accidental and also means that Contador will not be able to participate in this year's Tour.
The 2010 title now goes to Luxembourg's Andy Schleck.
"There is no reason to be happy now," Schleck said, according to Reuters. "First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. This is just a very sad day for cycling. The only positive news is that there is a verdict after 566 days of uncertainty. We can finally move on."
The reaction in Spain was expectedly somber. "It's very sad and unpleasant for Spanish cycling and for the sport in general," Juan Carlos Castaño the president of Spanish Cycling Federation told El País. Castaño added that he had tried to contact Contador but he was "busy."
Cycling great Eddy Merckx perhaps gave the most dire assessment.
"It's like someone wants to kill cycling," Merckx told The Associated Press at the Tour of Qatar. "I'm very surprised, very surprised. It's bad for the sponsors. It's bad for the Tour (de France). It's bad for cycling."
If you remember, on Friday, a federal court said it was dropping the doping case against U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong and his team.