Alberto Contador has been banned for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed on Monday.

CAS found that Contador was guilty of a doping offence, and imposed a two-year, back-dated suspension which commenced on January 25 2011, minus the amount of provisional suspension served (five months and 19 days). The suspension will end on August 5 2012.

Contador will also be fined, the amount of which will be published after a further decision by CAS at a later date. The UCI has requested that the fine be at least €2,485,000.

CAS concluded that Contador’s positive for clenbuterol was more “likely to have been caused by the ingestion of contaminated food supplement than by a blood transfusion or the ingestion of contaminated meat” and that there was no evidence that Contador “acted with no fault or negligence”.

The CAS verdict statement said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision in the arbitration between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) & the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador & the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC): the CAS has partially upheld the appeals filed by WADA and the UCI and has found Alberto Contador guilty of a doping offence.

“As a consequence, Alberto Contador is sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility starting retroactively on 25 January 2011, minus the period of the provisional suspension served in 2010-2011 (5 months and 19 days). The suspension should therefore come to an end on 5 August 2012.” 

The long-awaited verdict means that the Spaniard will lose the 2010 Tour de France title, in addition to all other results gained since then including the 2011 Giro d’Italia stages and overall; 2011 Tour of Murica stages and overall; and wins at the 2012 Tour of San Luis.

Union Cycliste International (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said of the verdict: “This is a sad day for our sport. 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.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport delivered the verdict on Monday, February 6, after hearing the case in November 21-24 2011.

Contador failed a test for clenbuterol on the 2010 Tour’s second rest day in Pau on July 21. He claimed that the banned substance was ingested via a tainted steak brought to France from Spain by a friend.

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) cleared Contador in mid-February 2011 allowing him to return to racing. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) then took the case to CAS in an attempt to get a suspension for Contador.

2010 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck is set to inherit the 2010 Tour title from Contador, with Italian Michele Scarponi set to gain the 2011 Giro d’Italia title.

Related links

Hushovd reacts to Contador decision

Schleck reacts to Contador ban

Contador’s clenbuterol case in brief

Alberto Contador: Rider Profile

  • ianfranklin

    Comments should certainly be reviewed but not censored. You always censor my comments. That says a lot about the truth of what I say.

  • roginoz

    drug cheats are found with performance enhancing levels in their blood. these top riders are tested all the time. lets not forget the amount was 0point000 ooo o5 of a picogram which is 5 hundredths of a millionth!!! be HONEST would you all be condemning him if he was british???

  • Mike

    You are right Bernis.
    There will be one less cheat there.
    When will cyling fans wake up. Someone was bemoaning the thought that the Tour without the “exciting” Contador would be “boring”
    The only reason people likeContador, and indeed Ricco, were exciting in the mountains was because they were doped, so had an unfair advantage.

  • Bernis

    The Tour will not be the same without Alberto in 2012.

  • Mark Vallis

    Did we ever really believe AC’s explanation? No reasonably astute follower of the professional sport believed it, especially after being implicated in Op Puerto.

    The sad thing is, the sport is yet again damaged by the ridiculously long period this took to resolve and the fact that the period of suspension is actually only six months – he kept his race fitness remember…and that would have been the biggest cost to him.

    When will the governing bodies of professional sport, not just cycling of course, understand…only life bans is likely to rid sport of the cheats and the temptation to cheat…and I’m sorry if that offends Miller fans, but I’m fed up of the sport I’ve loved for 40 years being tainted as dishonest and full of cheats…it isn’t.

  • dave cowman

    take ahard look at youself it does not matter if you are in one of the big named teams in cycling or just a club or solo rider why cheat you know in your own heart that you are a disgrace and a idiot to the sport contador a full two year ban starting now armstrong what do you think

  • keef

    This has consequences.
    If WADA is consistent, making Contador a scapegoat by fining him & stripping him of titles for 50 picograms/litre of clenbuterol means that they might as well ban all Mexican sportspeople now & save some money on testing.
    When detection gets down to femtogram, attogram and zeptogram levels then even a vegan trappist monk in Outer Mongolia won’t be allowed to ride a bike.
    The solution is simple – realistic limits and random, unannounced off-season testing

  • yen

    3 months suspended…(think about it) – He’ll need to start training for the Vuelta…I feel ‘things’ are still going on…and a precedent needed to be set.

  • Richard

    He has been found guilty so how can a 2 year ban possibly include 18 months of competitive / paid riding. He should be banned until Feb 2014

  • Craig

    The importance of this decision is that the ruling sets the precedent that the athlete still remains wholly responsible for the drugs in his system. There are two legitimate methods of appeal against a positive drugs test: (i) to contest the validity of the test, and/or (ii) to prove that the athlete had no responsibility for the presence of the banned substance in their system. With this ruling, CAS has clearly emphasised the word ‘prove’.

    Assume for a moment that Contador is innocent of deliberate doping. The CAS ruling now states clearly that it is not sufficient for the rider to simply say that they didn’t dope and then make suggestions of how it MAY have entered their system. They must PROVE that is what happened or they will be found guilty.

    So the ruling is NOT saying that Contador doped (they quite deliberately avoid such wording); it is saying that he couldn’t prove it was accidental. There is a difference there that some readers seem to have missed.

  • Esteeb Wiltshire

    So who is going to sanction the RFEC for clearing yet another in the ever lengthening list of their riders who dope?
    If RFEC actually showed some intent to rid our sport of cheats, maybe we’d see rather less Spanish riders getting caught with banned substances in their bodies.
    Time for action by the UCI on dealing with ‘rogue’ national bodies! (Some chance)

  • ian franklin

    One poster has already slated Cycling Weekly for acting like a lad’s magazine and conducting a vile, yes vile, witch hunt against Contador. The CAS clearly stated that they reckoned this drug got into his system through the ingestion of contaminated supplements. Then if that is the case he is the victim of circumstances not a deliberate cheat. And that’s all there is to it. CW and its sister rag, Cycle Sport, write in blokey terms as if they are running a football fanzine. Its about time the journalists on these rags grew up and started giving us decent journalism such as Rob Arnold manages to do with the Australian Ride magazine. I think you guys write the magazine for yourselves, not for the average reader who does not want your cheeky innuendos. Grow up for goodness sake!

  • Andy

    At a time when cycling is becoming more high profile in Britain, thanks to the efforts of Wiggins, Cavendish et al, I think this will only serve to damage cyclings popularity. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Contador should be banned for what he has done, but the ramifications of his, and other dopers, actions are far reaching and will only set back the hard work of all the clean riders, who are striving to promote Cycling as a clean sport. His punishment should be far more severe because of this. What makes it worse in my eyes, were his pathetic attempts to cover it up. He would have gained more respect had he admitted his guilt, stepped down and removed himself from the ensuing media circus. At least Millar had the good grace to admit what he had done, hang his head in shame and walk away from the sport for a long period.

  • g gartrell

    Why didn’t they take the blood doping on board also? In my opinion this was the cause of the ingestion of the drug. He should not be able to race until 2013 season.

  • William Hirst

    I hope this is a lesson to all others in this sport who cheat, no matter how big you are in the sport, no matter how clever you think you are, you will get found out. Tainted meat? nice try.

  • St Huck

    An absolute disgrace. You should be ashamed of your comments. Cycling Weekly equally for their witch hunt. You blah blah blah about your love for a sport which holds up and then sacrifices an incredible cyclist to the political desire to make an example. Go back to your weekend rides, inappropriate team jerseys, dreary conversation about the sport’s credibility, your weary love of the mundane and miss out on passion, drama, theatre and spectacle! Contador in his pomp can do things on a climb that you could barely dream of…! And you hate it. Much better a dreary, technical and alienating plod than a ride or rider any flair! With luck cycling will become less popular and you can return to your pipe sucking conversation and bemoaning that no one understands ‘your’ sport. Alternatively you could take the ‘example making’ to it’s logical extremes and we can repeat the driving a man to his death in the style of Pantani all over again. Cycling Weekly would be happy with that particular crusade. It’s editors and editorial are revolting.

    Also..the constant use of Bertie!!! Christ, have some respect and call the man by his name not some cheap, blokey derivative. We are not footballers!

    Cricket is quite dull I understand….why don’t you follow that instead? Or collect stamps and bore others witless with your earnest desciptions of why the red is actually better than the black or whatever.

    Last post I will ever make to Cycling Weekly and I will never buy this magazine again.

  • george L

    What comes around goes around Andy Shleck should have won the 2010 tour anyway. Hopefully this will stop Andy from whinging about down hills.

  • Stewart Oakes

    I think some people need to read the full report before they put the knife in.
    They haven’t found him guilty of cheating, they have found him guilty of accidently taking clenbuterol, this is a segment of their findings.

    “The Panel concluded that both the meat contamination scenario and the blood transfusion scenario were, in theory, possible explanations for the adverse analytica however equally unlikely. In the Panel’s opinion presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement.”

  • Chris Borrmann

    Contador has his 2010 tour win taken away for testing positive for clenbuterol. The French call this a case of sporting fraud, yet drug cheat Richard Virenque still has his 7 king of the mountians titles. If you can strip the from one rider for testing positive then you must take titles from all riders who cheat.

  • Howard Ashenden

    Ok but taking so long has not helped anyone or cycling.

  • steve clarke

    It was about time all this was sorted out, but I agree that his “ban” is really only 6 months, he will come back into the sport welcomed by his sponsors, team and I expect most of his peers.
    I never belived the “fairy tale” about the steak travelling all the way from Spain BUT us Cycling FANS will never know the real truth as Pro cycling is avery closed book.
    The ONLY way to sort out doping is LIFETIME bans, and I’m sorry if that upsets and Millar fans out there but it includes him.
    Dopers are cheats and spoil the sport for clean riders and decive the fans.

  • Andrew McQueen

    In my opinion he has been sailing close to the wind for a number of years, lets not forget him being implicated in Operacion Puerto. Also what happened to the plasticiser that was found in his blood from a suspected transfusion bag…… Pat MacQuaid needs to be a bit more damning of the bad apples in the bunch he represents, unless he has more to hide

  • Ken Evans

    I didn’t expect that !
    The UCI hasn’t helped the image of cycling,
    Landis and now Contador too.

    You would think Contador could have afforded better medical advice,
    and better legal advice too.

    A fine of 2 million Euros isn’t nothing either, even for AC.

    I wonder how good a clean AC would be ?

    Wiggins now has a better chance in the 2012 Tour.
    Will ASO ban AC from future Tours ?

  • Barry

    This is not a two year ban, the ban in effect is only 6 months, what a joke cycling has become!
    When you get off like this no wonder riders continue to cheat.

    Just a pity Armstrong got off, money talks once again.

  • Morgan

    Agree with Ed above – start the ban today, for two years – he’s been competing while this all goes on – anulling results is almost meaningless. That would send a far stronger message out.

  • Bigring

    Pat Mc Quaid got finally what he was wanting since day one…get rid of Contador and by this show to the world of sport that all the Spainards we are a scumbag of dopers ¡¡¡¡ congratulations to him and all his troop…..bet next tour de france will be won by Wiggins and Pat Mc Quaid will step on the Paris Podium, road to Paris now clear for the Anglosaxon riders ¡¡¡

  • Nick

    I find the contaminated meat story a bit hard to believe. Cycling has always been tainted by doping, and here we just happen to have the 2010 TDF champion tarnished, yet there are plenty who lead a clean dope use/allegation free existence in the sport, Cadel Evans,Hushovd etc and then there’s the current crop of British cyclists who all prove that a clean sport can be achieved and still ride at the top level. Hopefully they can now flourish in a cleaner pro peloton.

  • arronski

    Farce from start to finish ….yawn…at least it’s over now !

  • ALAN HOLMS

    Yeah right, he eat a steak that was carried all the way from Spain to France…..!! its funny that he [and presumably his “friend”] did not know what butcher it orginally came from! Sorry but the whole story stinks. You insult your fans, who made you a rich man. Do me a favour and dont bother coming back.

  • Carn Soaks

    There is a great list of Doping offences in Wiki. Check out those nations where realised cases are prevalent.
    I am glad that the testing regimen is finding lower and lower concentrations, because that shortens the effective usage timeframes that cheats can make use of enhancing regimens. If Contador is an innocent victim, then the rules still require a ban. Every one should be more careful with their intake when involved in “big sport” industries.
    Just think about Armstrong. He is still up for action from WADA/USADA. His case in the US was about fraud, not drugs cheating. Now the real “sheet hits the fun”

  • Mike

    How come he is only serving 6 months?
    He has been racing and being paid a huge salary by his team for the last eighteen months. A salary that is hugely inflated because he is a, cheating, Grand Tour winner.
    Its about time the rest of the racing world followed the French and called it spoting fraud, rather than simply cheating. Then the punishment can fit the crime.
    He must be laughing all the way to the bank.
    Over to you Bjarne Riis!!!!!!!!!!

    Also….. what did you think the outcome would be regarding the Armstrong investigation? He is a rich American icon. The Yanks never damage there own, If they can possibly get away with it. Think Michael Jackson.

  • neil duerden

    Some of the posters seem not to have read the CAS statement which explained the ingestion was likely the result of contaminated meat.Therefore he has been made an example &not been given the benefit of the doubt.

    The results of the 2010 Tour&2011 Giro should be null&voided-no stage winners etc.

    To me its an injustice&yes there are winners in this-Pat McQuaid who further enhances his prospects to become a IOC board member with this decision&his endless brown nosing to the IOC the net result of which is fewer opportunities for medals for team GB

    A disgrace!!!!

  • Organised Confusion

    Oh dear. Dirty Bertie. Even your Spanish friends couldn’t save you. No more dodgy steaks for you eh?.

    Still, atleast it means we might get an opportunity to see a proper race in the Giro for 2012 rather than the grand Bertie procession, leaving everyone else in his wake, and indeed Wiggo’s prospects in the 2012 Tour have also been significantly improved.

    Shame it has taken nearly 2 years to arrive at the only conclusion that was ever likely to have been drawn.

  • Jonathan

    By stringing matters out he has effectively reduced his ban to 6 months. He has remained race fit by competing. Should the ban not start on the date of final decision? That way the two years ban would be meaningful. The athlete should be stripped of all results achieved in the interim. It is a matter for the athlete then to get on with it.

  • Shark

    Armstrong not guilty, Contador guilty? You’ve GOT to be kidding!!!

  • Ed

    Another revolting cheat… but why does the ban not start now (or if they want to take into acount the 5 months ban in 2010 why not last 18 months it is disgusting that this cheat will be racing again in August. I sincerely hope Saxobank recover all his wages for the last 18 months, personally I thin they should drop him but we know that won’t happen

  • Philip Livingstone

    Glad to see Bertie has got his comeuppance, i was concerned that with the countless delays on this particular case there was going to be a fudge somewhere along the line.
    People who dope, transfuse blood, etc. rob clean riders of greatness and should be treated with the contempt they deserve – while they have received the plaudits in race reports and stood on the top step getting all the glory the clean riders are made to look like underperforming fools and then get a rough time from the press for not delivering.
    The two year ban is a joke though, it should be so much longer to be an effective deterent.

  • Nick

    Bad news all around,Schleck deprived of the top step of the podium on the day, the sport Bertie ‘loves’ is tarnished by his actions and now will only be stopped from racing for 6 months.At least the Spanish meat industry can smile…

  • barry davies

    Contador guilty – Armstrong not guilty !!!!!!
    Perhaps Alberto should have offered to pay a load of money to the UCI to get if covered up aka Armstrong..

  • Simon E

    “This is a sad day for our sport”

    It certainly feels that way, but perhaps it will help the change our sport so desperately needs.

    Contador is probably the greatest stage racer of our generation. I want to see him race against his rivals, but it has to be fair. Over to you Alberto, please show us that you can win races clean.

  • Adrian Potter

    Good I have no time for cheats

  • redballoon

    Fantastic news. It has taken far too long to come to this decision, but finally cycling is showing some balls and climbing the long road to restoring its credibility

  • Anders Schelde Mai

    Then he will just have to make due with the La Vuelta this year, and then come back and beat who ever wins the Tour this year next season.