Spanish federation proceeding carefully
MADRID -- The Spanish cycling federation is seeking feedback from the UCI and WADA before ruling on Alberto Contador's doping case, the national body's president said Monday.
Contador faces a possible two-year ban and loss of last year's Tour de France title after a positive drug test that the Spanish cyclist blamed on eating contaminated meat.
Spanish cycling chief Juan Carlos Castano told The Associated Press that his federation hopes to rule on Contador's case by the end of January but is first waiting to hear the views of experts from both cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
"We don't want the UCI or WADA to rule on the case -- the disciplinary committee just considers the opinion of both the UCI and WADA's experts as being important for the sake of the athlete," Castano said in a telephone interview. "We just want various opinions so we can take the best decision possible."
Castano stressed that his organization is not trying to duck its responsibility. The national body has been accused of being too lenient on its own athletes in previous doping cases, and Castano was among a number of high-level officials in Spain who supported Contador immediately after his positive case was disclosed.
Contador, a three-time Tour champion and winner of the Giro d'Italia and Spanish Vuelta, tested positive during a rest day at last year's Tour. He claims he ingested the muscle-building, weight-loss drug clenbuterol inadvertently after eating beef. Clenbuterol is considered a zero-tolerance drug by WADA.
It is the responsibility of the Spanish federation to decide on any sanction. Then either the UCI, WADA or the cyclist could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"This is not the most difficult case the federation has ever had to rule on but it is definitely the most complex," Castano said. "It is especially complicated. It's not like when we have a decision that one of the sides will be satisfied with it."
Contador, who also won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, signed a two-year deal to race for Saxo Bank from this season.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Sources: Seahawks favorites to land Bennett
- Self 'confident' Embiid will play despite back
- Source: Steelers will release OLB Woodley
- Florida, Wichita St. remain 1-2; UK falls out
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM