Alberto Contador Faces Penalties for Doping

by by Chris Cohen

Last December, the Indy ran a piece on the Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, and the history of doping in professional cycling. Contador was then awaiting the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport into his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 20010 Tour de France.  Last week, the Court, while admitting the possibility of accidental contact with the drug, found him guilty.

Contador has been retroactively banned from the cycling from the date of the start of his provisional ban in early 2011. Add a few months “credit” he earned not racing after the positive test was first revealed, and Contador will be eligible to race again this August. Additionally, he has been stripped of his wins since the positive test, including the 2010 Tour and the 2011 Giro d’Italia (Italy’s equivalent to the Tour de France), a race in which he passed practically daily drug tests.

If the pace of the Contador decision seems slow, consider this: the court also delivered a two year ban (starting now) to the German Jan Ulrich, winter of the 1998 Tour de France. The case concerned a 2006 Spanish police investigation into Eufemiano Fuentes; Ulrich has been retired since February 2007.

Contador has vowed to continue to ride, though it is still unclear if he will be able to remain on his current team. His return date precludes racing in this year’s Tour or Giro, but does allow the possibility that he will appear in the Vuelta a España, Spain’s largest three week race.

A prediction: Contador will win the 2012 Vuelta by an unheard of margin.