Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has revealed he tested positive for a banned steroid during this year’s race.
Through a spokesman, the Spaniard confirmed he tested positive for clenbuterol on July 21 but claims food contamination is “the only possible explanation”.
Astana rider Contador was notified by governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale on August 24.
A statement said: “From the time of the first communication from the UCI, August 24, Alberto Contador alleged food contamination as the only possible explanation for what happened.”
It continued: “The experts consulted so far have agreed that this is a food contamination case, especially considering the number of tests passed by Alberto Contador during the Tour de France, making it possible to define precisely both the time the emergence of the substance ruling out any other source or intentionality.”
Contador will hold a press conference at lunchtime today in Pinto, near Madrid.
The UCI followed Contador’s statement with their own, confirming the rider has been “formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code”.
The statement said: “The UCI confirmed today that Spanish rider Alberto Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of urine sample taken during an in-competition test on 21st July 2010 on the second rest day of the Tour de France.
“This result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to UCI and WADA simultaneously.
“The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml) which is 400 times less than what the anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect.
“In view of this very small concentration and in consultation with WADA, the UCI immediately had the proper results management proceedings conducted including the analysis of (the) B sample that confirmed the first result.
“The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code.
“This case required further scientific investigation before any conclusion could be drawn.
“The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time.
“In order to protect the integrity of the proceedings and in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI will refrain from making any further comments until the management of this adverse analytical finding has been completed.”
Contador had previously won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 before this year’s victory.