A “disgusted” Alberto Contador hit out at the Spanish cycling federation whom he accused of buckling to pressure from anti-doping authorities after it proposed he serve a one-year ban.
The future of the three-time Tour de France champion has hung in the balance since he announced last August he had tested positive for traces of the banned substance clenbuterol during last July’s race.
Despite repeatedly denying taking any banned substances, blaming the result on food contamination, it increasingly looks like stage racing’s biggest talent will be banned.
The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) made a proposal last month to ban Contador for a year, an offer which was seen by experts as a compromise deal.
However Contador immediately vowed to appeal the ban saying he had done nothing wrong.
He now believes the RFEC was pressured into making the proposal by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and feels “let down” by his federation’s failure to clear him.
“The UCI and WADA exerted a lot of pressure before that proposal from the RFEC was made on Jan. 26,” the Spaniard said in an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE on Thursday.
“The RFEC knows I’ve always advocated an anti-doping stance. Everyone knows what’s going on, but now I’m in a position where I’m facing a ban. It really makes you lose confidence [in the system],” he said.
“I’m disgusted ... I feel really let down by the attitude of the federation. This case has become way too politicized and it has prejudiced my case,” Contador said. “The federation has our entire dossier. It is a long and comprehensive work which clears everything up.”
“They could have consulted an article which proves my innocence, but they haven’t and for that I am disappointed,” he said.
A defiant Contador said he would fight any future ban.
“I’m ready for whichever battle comes up,” he said.
The RFEC is soon expected to confirm the length of Contador’s sanction.
If however the Spanish cycling authorities fail to ban Contador, the UCI, which is understood to want to apply the anti-doping rules to the letter, would likely appeal to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to ban him.
The 28-year-old, who is also a former winner of the Giro d’Italia and Tour of Spain, would then lose last year’s Tour de France title.
Clenbuterol is a banned weight loss/muscle-building drug which is also used to fatten cattle. Contador claims he ate a steak that was contaminated by the drug.