Team Astana have backed the decision to provisionally suspend Alberto Contador but want a further explanation from the three-time Tour de France winner before making any other announcement following his positive test for clenbuterol.
The Spaniard is determined to see his name cleared after claiming contaminated meat was the reason behind his positive test for the banned stimulant while he was on his way to winning this year’s Tour.
Contador was informed of the failed test on August 24 and has been provisionally suspended by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
The 27-year-old in August signed a two-year deal to race with Team Saxo Bank from next season after rejecting Astana’s offer of a new contract.
An Astana team statement this morning read: “The Kazakh direction of the team Astana just learnt yesterday from a press release issued by his press officer that Alberto Contador had an abnormal doping control during the last Tour de France.
“The headers are now expecting further explanations from Alberto Contador and support the UCI who suspended him provisionally, before taking any other decision which would be premature given the complexity of the case.”
The UCI said in a statement yesterday that the amount of clenbuterol detected in Contador’s urine on July 21 was 400 times smaller than the World Anti-Doping Agency are required to detect and are promising “further scientific investigation” before taking action.
Contador, who also won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, yesterday protested his innocence at a press conference in his home town of Pinto just outside Madrid, claiming the positive test was as a result of eating contaminated meat brought from Spain.
He is also determined not to let this incident taint his career, saying: “I’m not going to allow something like this to ruin all my hard work.
“I’m not worried that they are putting into doubt my results in the Tour de France, I know how I’ve done things. I’m not going to hide. I want to clear this up as soon as possible.
“I’m sad and disappointed but I can hold my head high because with the truth behind me I can talk loud and clear.
“It’s a case of food contamination in which I’m the victim.”
He added: “The UCI understands perfectly what has happened. This is a different case because it’s a clear case of contamination, incomparable to any other clenbuterol case.
“It’s such a minimal amount that it is only possible to come from a food contamination. And in terms of performance it would not be any use at all – any expert can confirm this.
“I trust that this is going to be resolved in a favourable way. I think that it’s going to be resolved, because the opposite would be incomprehensible. I trust in the professionalism of the experts.”