World cycling chiefs said Saturday they would look to resolve “as quickly as possible” the doping controversy surrounding Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
Contador has been provisionally suspended by the UCI after he announced Friday he had tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance, during this year’s race.
While Contador is claiming he was the victim of contaminated food, some anti-doping experts have suggested the Spaniard may have inadvertently put clenbuterol back into his system through an illegal blood transfusion.
UCI chief Pat McQuaid said Contador, one of the highest-profile names in the sport, could have his fate decided by scientists from the union and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Although that process could take months, McQuaid said it needed to be resolved as quickly as possible for the sake of the sport.
“I don’t know how long this process is going to take because I don’t know what level the results management process is at,” McQuaid said.
“But I do agree that in the interests of our sport we need the Contador case to come to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
“That is something I will be discussing with (WADA chief) David Howman over this weekend, and trying to find out exactly where it’s at.”
The UCI faces a major dilemma regarding Contador because it looks far from an open-and-shut case.
World cycling’s ruling body said that only a “very small concentration” of the drug had been found and that the case warranted “further scientific investigation” because the Cologne laboratory which detected the substance is known to be able to detect the tiniest traces of drugs.
“The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms which is 400 times less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) must be able to detect,” the UCI said Friday, adding that analysis of a B sample “confirmed the first.” (Editor’s note: It appears the UCI’s math is incorrect: The level is 40 times less than the required detection level).