MADRID, Spain (AFP) — A proposal by Spanish cycling chiefs to ban Tour de France champion Alberto Contador for a year would spare him a 3.1-million-euro salary penalty, Spanish media said Thursday.
Contador is currently provisionally suspended by the sport’s ruling body, the UCI, following a positive test for the banned stimulant clenbuterol at the 2010 edition of the race.
In accordance with UCI regulations, national federations must first sanction athletes before the UCI takes further action, if deemed necessary.
Given the tiny amounts of clenbuterol found in Contador’s sample, the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) opted Wednesday to propose suspending the Spaniard for a year.
A two-year suspension would automatically force Contador to return 70 percent of his 2010 salary, or 3.1 million euros, said sports daily AS.
Rival daily Marca said the one-year ban “does not include a financial sanction”, unlike a two-year suspension.
It was unclear when the date of the ban would begin.
Contador was provisionally suspended on August 24, 2010 after being informed by the UCI of his positive test.
If taken from this date and suspended one year Contador would miss the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and probably the Tour of Spain in 2011. He would also be shorn of his 2010 Tour of France title.
Contador denies any wrongdoing and says he unknowingly ingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France during the second rest day of the Tour, just four days before he won July 25.
Clenbuterol was banned by the European Union in 1996 but it is still administered illicitly by some cattle farmers.
In similar ways to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine, clenbuterol can have short-term stimulant effects, including increasing aerobic capacity, blood pressure and alertness. It also is reported to increase muscle growth and reduce fat.