Cycling: Andy Schleck not revelling in Tour de France 'victory'

 

Andy Schleck refused to revel in his elevation to 2010 Tour de France champion following the Court of Arbitration's decision to strip Alberto Contador of the crown.

Contador was yesterday banned for two years for testing positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour, meaning Luxembourg rider Schleck moves up from second place to the top of the podium.

He was not celebrating the fact, however.

"There is no reason to be happy now," he said. "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.

"I trust that the CAS judges took all things into consideration after reading a 4,000-page file.

"If now I am declared overall winner of the 2010 Tour de France it will not make me happy.

"I battled with Contador in that race and I lost. My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sportive way, being the best of all competitors, not in court. If I succeed this year, I will consider it as my first Tour victory."

It was initially announced Contador had failed a doping Test in September 2010, shortly after he had won his third Tour - he was also victorious in the sport's biggest race in 2007 and 2009.

The 29-year-old always maintained his innocence, claiming he failed the test after eating contaminated meat, and rejected an offer from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) to serve a 12-month suspension.

In February 2011, the RFEC then decided to withdraw any sanction against Contador, a decision which was subsequently appealed at CAS by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

CAS yesterday partially upheld that appeal, ruling Contador must serve a two-year period of ineligibility starting retroactively on January 25, 2011, minus the period of the provisional suspension served in 2010-2011 (five months and 19 days).

All results obtained since January, 2011 will be wiped from the record books, meaning that in addition to Contador losing the 2010 Tour crown, his achievement in winning the 2011 Giro d'Italia will no longer be recognised.

Michele Scarponi is the new winner of the 2011 Giro.

In explaining the reasons behind their judgement, a CAS statement read: "Alberto Contador alleged that the presence of clenbuterol in his system originated from eating contaminated meat.

"The UCI and WADA submitted that it was more likely that the adverse analytical finding of the athlete was caused by a blood transfusion or by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement than by the consumption of contaminated meat.

"The panel found that there were no established facts that would elevate the possibility of meat contamination to an event that could have occurred on a balance of probabilities.

"Unlike certain other countries, notably outside Europe, Spain is not known to have a contamination problem with clenbuterol in meat.

"Furthermore, no other cases of athletes having tested positive to clenbuterol allegedly in connection with the consumption of Spanish meat are known.

"The panel concluded that both the meat contamination scenario and the blood transfusion scenario were, in theory, possible explanations for the adverse analytical findings but were however equally unlikely.

"In the panel's opinion, on the basis of the evidence adduced, the presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement."

Contador will now miss the 2012 Tour and the London Olympics.

PA

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