Spanish Authorities Accept Alberto Contador's Contaminated Meat Defense

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01/28/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-SunGard). Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-SunGard). Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Spanish Authorities Accept Alberto Contador's Contaminated Meat Defense

Spanish cycling authorities have accepted Alberto Contador's defense that his positive Tour de France doping test resulted from eating contaminated meat, Contador's spokesman said Thursday.

test. German table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov also used the same defense after testing positive for the drug, but WADA is appealing the German body's decision not to sanction him.

Colo tested positive for clenbuterol last April at the Tour of Mexico but secured a reduced sentence. He said the UCI has appealed to CAS over the one-year ban by the Italian Olympic Committee in October.

"CONI even wrote in their formal decision that it was very possible," Colo told the AP in a phone interview Thursday. "But they also wrote that I should have known clenbuterol was commonly found in Mexican meat and that I should have instead relied on protein mixes."

If stripped of the 2010 Tour victory, the title would go to runner-up Andy Schleck of Luxembourg. A one-year ban means Contador wouldn't have to surrender 70 percent of his salary, unlike a two-year ban.

Contador would not only miss next year's Tour if the ban is upheld, he would miss out on participating in the Spanish Vuelta by only three days because the one-year ban would end on Aug. 23. The ban would be retroactive to Aug. 24 of last year - the day he was informed of the positive control.

Contador also won Tour titles in 2007 and 2009. He was forced to sit out the Tour in 2006 and 2008 after his teams were implicated in doping cases. The 28-year-old Spaniard is only the fifth cyclist to win Tour, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta titles in a career.

"The team has backed me a lot. You've got to think of it that way," Contador said of his Saxo Bank team. "Things are going well and I'm lucky to be here. I've never had such good preparation as I've had this year.

"Over the three days here, I've trained incredibly well. Whatever improvements we make are very important. Races are decided by a matter of seconds."

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