Alberto Contador, one of Spain's top cyclists and three-time winner of the Tour de France, has been found guilty of doping charges after testing positive for a banned substance.
The cyclist was tested after a rest day during the Tour de France in 2010 and was found to have the banned substance clenbuterol in his system. According to a report by the BBC:
"The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) regards clenbuterol - a fat-burning and muscle-building supplement - as a zero-tolerance drug"
The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport was made public on Feb. 6. It means that the Spaniard has also been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, with the winner now being Andy Scleck whom Contador beat by 39 seconds.
Alberto Contador has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings. According to The Daily Telegraph, he ate a steak on the rest day that had been brought in from Spain to France. It is known that the drug is regularly used by beef farmers to "promote high protein and commercially more valuable meat.". The Telegraph article points out that several sportsmen have been cleared of doping charges on the grounds that they had ingested it accidentally by eating meat that had clenbuterol in it.
There have been many delays with the case with the actual court proceedings not taking place until November 2011. Just before the case, Contador's lawyer Andy Ramos told the Daily Telegraph:
"Alberto does not use performance enhancing drugs and that is the end of the matter. Suspending the current Tour de France champion for when we know he ingested the banned substance through a tainted steak, is an injustice of tragic proportions. The amount of clenbuterol found in Alberto Contador’s urine offered no performance enhancement at all."Alberto Contador was born in 1982 in Pinto near Madrid. He became interested in cycling through his older brother and quickly became obsessed by the sport. He won the Spanish Championship Time Trial in 2002 and became a professional as part of the ONCE-Eroski team the following year. His career has gone from strength to strength with the Tour de France wins the pinnacle of his career.
As the case has taken so long to come before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Contador will be able to race again from August 6 2012, but that means he will miss this year's Tour de France and the London Olympics and the sportsman is now left with his career shattered.