Contador gets one year suspension

Palma De Mallorca (Spain), Jan 27 (AFP) Tour de Francechampion Alberto Contador received a one year ban from theSpanish Cycling Federation on Wednesday for his positive drugstest from the 2010 Tour de France, his spokesperson announced.

The 28-year-old had been informed of his punishment bythe federation earlier on Wednesday with the body refusing tosay what they had recommended, leaving it to the discretion ofthe three-time Tour de France champion as to whether he madeit public.

He later released a terse statement through hisspokesperson.

"Alberto Contador has received today a notification ofone year ban proposal by the Competition Committee of theSpanish Federation," said the spokesperson.

"Therefore, together with Bjarne Riis (director of histeam Saxo Bank), a Press Conference will be held next Friday,January 28, at 16:00 hours (1500GMT), at the Hotel Son Net inPalma de Mallorca, to express their opinion about this case."

The rider has 10 days to appeal, but faces becoming onlythe second Tour de France champion to be stripped of histitle.

American Floyd Landis was shorn of his crown in 2006.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) provisionallysuspended Contador in August in advance of a decision on hisimmediate future by the REFC after trace amounts ofclenbuterol, a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug alsoused to fatten cattle, were found in a urine sample takenduring the Tour de France.

Contador denies any wrongdoing and says he unknowinglyingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain toFrance during the second rest day of the Tour, just four daysbefore he won his third title on July 25.

Clenbuterol was banned by the European Union in 1996 butit is still administered illicitly by some cattle farmers.

It is listed by the the World Anti-Doping Agency as ananabolic agent that is prohibited for use by athletes at alltimes, both in and out of competition.

In similar ways to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine,clenbuterol can have short-term stimulant effects, includingincreasing aerobic capacity, blood pressure and alertness.

The rider, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and2009, had threatened to quit the sport if he was suspended fortwo years.

Contador is training this week with his team on theSpanish Balearic island of Majorca.

Contador signed a two-year contract with the Saxo Bank inAugust 2010 after Luxembourg''s Andy Schleck, runner-up behindthe Spaniard in the last two editions of the race, quit theteam to set up his own outfit with his brother Frank andseveral other members of the Danish outfit. (AFP) AT

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