Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Thursday he hopes a swift verdict will be reached in the case of reigning champion Alberto Contador, who failed a drugs test during the race last year.
Last month the Spanish cycling federation proposed the 28-year-old rider get a one-year ban for his positive test for the banned drug clenbuterol on July 21, the final rest day of the 2010 Tour, which we went on to win.
A final decision from the federation is expectedly soon. If found to have doped, Contador will become only the third Tour champion to be stripped of his title, after Floyd Landis in 2006 and Maurice Garin in 1904.
One Spanish paper reported Thursday that the panel charged with ruling on the case is poised to absolve Contador. Others have said that the panel is prepared to hand down a one-year ban. WADA rules call for a two-year suspension, but questions of intent can be used to reduce that. Even a one year ban would also keep Contator off the starting line of this year’s Tour and quite possibly from the Vuelta a España as well.
“The only thing which we want is to have a response,” Prudhomme said, during a presentation of Barcelona’s candidacy to host the depart of the 2014 Tour.
“It is the most important thing. Too often we are in a grey area,” he added.
The UCI provisionally suspended Contador in August in advance of a decision on his future by Spanish cycling federation.
The rider, who joined Team Saxo Bank on a two-year deal after leaving the Astana team just after the 2010 Tour, denies any wrongdoing.
He says he unknowingly ingested trace elements of muscle-building and fat-burning drug clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France which he ate just four days before he won his third Tour on July 25.
Meanwhile, Contador hit out at the UCI and world anti-doping body WADA on Thursday, blasting their influence on the case.
“The pressure of the UCI and WADA has carried a lot of weight in the proposal of this sanction,” Contador told Spanish news agency, EFE.
He added that he was “disgusted and disappointed” by the attitude of the Spanish federation which he claimed had “politicised” the controversy.
When Landis failed a test for synthetic testosterone after his long breakaway victory on stage 17 during the 2006 Tour, it was not until September 2007, fourteen months after the finish of the race, that the final victory was awarded to Spain’s Oscar Pereiro.