The International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed it will seek to have Tour de France winner Alberto Contador banned for doping.
The Spaniard rider tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol just before his 2010 Tour de France win last July. However,the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) cleared Contador in February 2011 after deciding he had no case to answer.
The case will now be sent forward to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Lausanne.
“We’ve studied the case and we feel there’s strict liability whereby the athlete has to prove how the product got into his system,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid.
“We feel he hasn’t done that in this case and there’s a case to answer. Of course it’s damaging for the sport but, by the same token, the sport has to police itself and remain credible. That’s what the UCI does. For us it was important that this case goes to an independent entity which has high credibility and let them make the decision. Everybody will then accept and understand that that’s the correct decision. I would be hopeful that Cas can hear the case before May or June and make a decision so it is out of the way before the Tour de France.”
Contador’s lawyer said the cyclist would be prepared to take the case to the regular Swiss courts if UCI’s appeal to Cas sees him hit with a ban.
“We will do everything that’s necessary to show that Alberto is innocent,” said Andy Ramos. “We’re sure we will win at Cas but if that isn’t the case, we’ll go wherever we have to to prove his innocence.”