MADRID, January 26, 2011 (AFP) – Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has been told of his punishment for his positive drugs test from the 2010 race, the Spanish cycling federation announced on Wednesday.
“The federation has notified him of the sanction. He has a 10-day window in which to lodge an appeal,” a federation official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The federation did not announce what the punishment was, a spokesman having said earlier that they would leave it up to the cyclist to do so.
Spain’s sports media had reported that the rider may be suspended for one year over his positive doping test at last year’s event.
“All indications are that the sanction proposed by the committee will be one year, so he will be stripped of his last win” at the Tour de France in July, sports daily Marca wrote.
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.
After being informed of the federation’s decision, Contador will have 10 days to present any new evidence or material.
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.