Cycling: Contador stripped of Tour title

Spaniard banned for two years and loses two titles after being found guilty of doping by CAS

Lusail, Qatar

Five hundred and sixty five days after he tested positive for a minute quantity of the banned substance clenbuterol, road cycling's top star, Alberto Contador, has finally received the maximum ban possible from the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a first doping offence – two years – and has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d'Italia titles.

Contador's ban is retroactive, starting on 5 August 2010, and as a result the 29-year-old Spaniard can return to racing later this season. However, he will miss this year's Tour de France, as well as the Olympics, which will indirectly favour the chances of British contender Bradley Wiggins in both events.

Arguably the most controversial and high-profile of all the doping cases to batter the sport in recent years, Contador had argued that the clenbuterol – present in his body at a level far lower than the minimum required to be reported by an anti-doping laboratory – had shown up because he had eaten contaminated beef during the 2010 Tour. Contador was cleared by his federation in February 2011, but an interminably lengthy appeal by both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI, cycling's governing body, to CAS has finally seen him banned.

The retroactive nature of the verdict means that, following Floyd Landis's positive test in the 2006 Tour de France, the winner of cycling's flagship event has been stripped of his title because of a doping affair for the second time in five years. On a third occasion, in 2007, Contador himself claimed the first of his Grand Tour victories after the Dane Michael Rasmussen was expelled amid doping accusations. For cycling, the two-year ban was taken in some quarters as a knockout blow, while others believed it proved just how hard a line on cycling takes on doping.

The five-times Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx said: "It is catastrophic for cycling and for Contador. If he had been a football player, he would never have tested positive. Only cycling goes so far [in searching for banned drugs]. When you go down to such a low percentage, you always find something."

The former world road race champion, Thor Hushovd, said: "It took too long a time to sort out, but it shows that we are really tough on banned drugs."

As a result of the ban, Andy Schleck will inherit the 2010 Tour title, while Michele Scarponi will now be declared the winner of the Giro. Schleck has already said he always considered Contador to be innocent and that if he won this summer, he would consider it his first Tour de France victory.

What is beyond all doubt is the damage caused to a sport's image while doping appeal cases grind through the courts, not to mention the often absurd reshuffling of results if the athletes are declared guilty. It highlights what many feel is an excessive time lapse between a positive drugs test being announced, and its final resolution.

However, the exceptionally complicated nature of the Contador case, makes it difficult to see how proceedings could have been shortened.

The precedents on clenbuterol positives are radically contradictory. Wada itself had cleared 109 footballers who tested positive in Mexico for quantities of clenbuterol as minute as Contador's 50 picograms after eating contaminated meat during an Under-17s World Championships in 2011. Another case, involving a top German table tennis player, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who had tested positive for the same drug was also thrown out on appeal.

CAS pointed out that Spain had not had a history of clenbuterol contamination in meat, and said the positive was most likely to have been caused by a contaminated food supplement.

The secretary general of CAS, Matthieu Reeb, said: "There was no reason to exonerate the athlete, so the sanction is two years."

Contador will have to decide in the next 30 days if he will appeal against the decision in the Swiss civil courts, and he will find out, in a further CAS verdict, whether he has pay the UCI a fine of $3.25m (£2m). He could return as early as the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on 18 August. His brother and agent, Fran, said yesterday: "Contador will come back to racing."

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice