After an unbelievably protracted sequence of events, Spanish rider Alberto Contador has been found guilty of doping offences by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and banned for two years. The decision also sees him stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and Andy Schleck (whom he beat by just 39 seconds) retrospectively awarded the title. The Saxo Bank-SunGard star was initially cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation – who believed the story the that he had accidentally ingested the performance-enhancer, Clenbuterol, via contaminated meat – but both the UCI and The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) sought to overturn the finding, leading to the hearing, and much delayed decision, at CAS. The verdict means that Contador will not ride in the 2012 TdF as his ban will remain in place until August 6.
In a statement the ICU president, Pat McQuaid has said: ‘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.’