Alberto Contador stripped of Tour de France title amid doping scandal (+video)
Alberto Contador of Spain, a three-time Tour de France champion, was stripped of his 2010 title by the Court of Arbitration for Sport because of a failed drug test.
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"There is no reason to be happy now," Schleck said in a statement issued by his team, RadioShack Nissan Trek. "First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. I battled with Contador in that race and I lost."
Contador kept racing after his positive test on a 2010 Tour rest day. He will be stripped of all results from races in which he participated since Jan. 25, 2011 — the day the Spanish federation proposed a one-year ban. That period includes his Giro d'Italia victory last season.
"This is a sad day for our sport," UCI president Pat McQuaid said. "Some may think of it as a victory, but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping: every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many."
CAS said it would rule later on a request by UCI to fine Contador $3.25 million.
CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said the doping offense was "not contested," only the explanation for how the clenbuterol got into Contador's system.
"It is just the application of the rules, the fact that there was a positive test," Reeb told reporters. "In the end, it is not so spectacular. There is a clear decision based on a positive test. There was no reason to exonerate the athlete, so the sanction is two years."
If Contador appeals to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the court can decide the legal process was abused but would not examine the merits of the evidence. A federal appeal process typically takes several months, though the court rarely overrules CAS.
Contador tested positive on the July 21 rest day. The positive results were not confirmed publicly until September 2010, when the UCI announced it had provisionally suspended him pending an investigation by Spain's cycling body.
Contador was originally cleared last February by the Spanish cycling federation's tribunal, which rejected a recommendation to impose a one-year ban. Days earlier, then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Twitter that there was no reason to punish the rider, who is idolized in his country.
"The fault is with the institutions that haven't served their purpose and who haven't been able to review a case like this," Contador said of his case, nearly one year ago. "It's been six months of sleepless nights, pulling your hair out — there are times when I cried."
After the UCI and WADA appealed the Spanish verdict, a twice-postponed hearing was heard by CAS in November.
The four-day session almost ended in chaos as lawyers for the UCI and WADA considered walking out when the panel chairman, Israeli lawyer Efraim Barak, prevented one of their expert witnesses from being questioned about the science of blood doping and transfusions.
Contador attended the closed-door hearing, which ended with him making a personal plea of innocence to the arbitrators. The panel also included German law professor Ulrich Haas, nominated by Contador's side, and Geneva-based lawyer Quentin Byrne-Sutton, selected by the UCI and WADA.
The complex 18-month legal case has also raised questions about the status of clenbuterol in anti-doping rules and the honesty of Spanish farmers. The drug is banned in Europe.
Contador is under contract to ride in 2012 for the Danish team Saxo Bank.
Team spokesman Anders Damgaard said the team was studying the ruling before making any comment.
Team owner Bjarne Riis admitted in 2007 that he had used the performance-enhancing drug EPO during his career, including when he won the 1996 Tour de France.
IN PICTURES: Cycling in stages: Tour de France 2011
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