26 Dec 2010

Contador upbeat over doping charges

5:16 pm on 26 December 2010

Triple Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has issued an optimistic Christmas Day message on his Twitter account declaring he'll be cleared over a doping charge and that 2011 will be an historic year for him.

The 27-year-old Spaniard was provisionally suspended in September after trace amounts of clenbuterol were found in a urine sample taken during this year's Tour de France.

However, Contador expressed his confidence online that his claims he unknowingly ingested the clenbuterol from beef brought from Spain to France during the second rest day of the Tour, just four days before he won his third title on July 25, would be borne out.

Cycling's governing body the UCI asked the Spanish Cycling Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Contador last month and the cyclist - who also won the Tour in 2007 and 2009 - has threatened to quit the sport if he is suspended for two years.

Clenbuterol is a banned weight loss and muscle-building drug that's also used to fatten cattle. It's been banned by the European Union since 1996 but it is still administered illicitly by some ranchers.