Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, who is fighting a bid to impose a doping ban which could strip him of his 2010 Tour de France win, pled his case before a panel on Thursday. The three-time Tour de France champion addressed a closed hearing at the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sports, which has been charged with examining if minute traces of clenbuterol found in a urine sample in 2010 is proof that Contador used drugs to enhance his performance.
Contador emerged red-eyed from the building shortly before 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) and got into a taxi with his brother Fran without addressing waiting media. CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said the cyclist spoke for about 15 minutes on the last day of the case. More than 20 witnesses have given evidence since it opened on Monday at CAS headquarters before being moved to the International Olympic Committee, also in Lausanne, so as to ensure simultaneous translation during the trial. No ruling is expected before 2012.
The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) initially cleared Contador of any wrongdoing after he claimed his sample had been contaminated by a steak which he ate on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France. That ruling allowed Contador to continue competing, but the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) filed appeals to CAS.
A file of some 4,000 pages is being examined by the court chaired by Israeli lawyer Efraim Barack, who is assisted by Swiss Quentin Byrne-Sutton and German Ulrich Hass. If CAS upholds the appeals the Spaniard faces a competition ban and being stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and the Giro d’Italia, which he won for a second time this year, and any other victories since July 2010. The parties are entitled to challenge the court’s decision before the federal Swiss court within 30 days but only concerning procedural matters. Contador has insisted that he has never taken banned drugs, even going as far as to pass a lie detector test to prove his innocence.