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Wed Apr 16 20:59:09 SAST 2014

Contador submits final defence to overturn ban

Sapa-AP | 08 February, 2011 15:330 Comments
Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Spain speaks during a news conference in Puigpunyent on the island of Mallorca, January 28, 2011. Contador plans to appeal against the provisional one-year ban handed down to him by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) for failing a doping test. "I do not agree with the (RFEC's preliminary) resolution at all," an emotional Contador told a news conference on Friday, adding that he had no plans to retire from cycling as he had threatened to do if he was punished

Alberto Contador has submitted his final defense to overturn a proposed one-year ban for a positive Tour de France doping test.

Contador submitted further documentation to Spanish cycling authorities to demonstrate his positive test for clenbuterol from contaminated meat was due to “no fault or negligence.”

Contador could be stripped of his third Tour title and miss out on this year’s edition if the one-year suspension is upheld over a normal two-year ban.

“With the documents presented and the two new points we’ve introduced there’s hope this (decision) changes,” Contador told Spanish national radio on Monday. “The rule says the athlete must show responsibility and negligence for a sanction to be applied.”

The clenbuterol was found in a sample from a Tour rest day on July 21. Traces of the drug were found in tests performed over the next three days, but the Spanish disciplinary committee dismissed those failed tests as clenbuterol takes several days to disappear from a person’s system completely.

Contador submitted a further 35 pages to the 90 he previously presented with an emphasis on supporting both the International Cycling Union’s and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s regulations that suggest a ban can be eliminated if the athlete shows no intention to cheat and unintentional consumption of a performance-enhancing drug.

Part of Contador’s defense is the case of French tennis player Richard Gasquet, who avoided a ban after proving he inadvertently ingested cocaine after kissing a woman at a nightclub.

A final ruling is expected later this week but that decision can still be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Contador, the UCI or WADA.

“An athlete tested positive in Mexico, where clenbuterol is used in cattle, but in the European Union meat goes through more controls and it’s illegal to fatten cattle using this substance. I could never expect that meat to be contaminated,” Contador said.

Clenbuterol has been outlawed since 1996 and it showed up only once in 83,203 animal samples tested by EU countries in 2008 and 2009, with zero positive cases in Spain from 19,431 samples analyzed.

Contador’s team has also called on Spanish cycling’s disciplinary committee to take into account “the principle of equality” when it comes to analyzing athlete’s samples.

Contador’s clenbuterol reading was discovered at a Cologne lab in Germany, which is one of just four of the world’s 34 accredited anti-doping laboratories cutting-edge enough to have detected the minute traces of clenbuterol.

Clenbuterol is considered a zero-tolerance drug by WADA for its ability to build muscle and burn fat.

Contador said he received a message of support from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who also fought a similar doping case as a football player in Italy.

“At the beginning this was a nightmare but now I just feel disappointment,” Contador said. “But I still have hope.

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