PM: Spain shouldn't sanction Contador
MADRID -- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero believes there is "no legal reason" to sanction Tour de France champion Alberto Contador over his positive doping test.
Contador was handed a proposed one-year ban by the Spanish cycling federation last month after testing positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour. A final verdict is expected soon.
Zapatero said on the Spanish government's Twitter feed that "there's no legal reason to justify sanctioning Contador." Contador claims he unintentionally consumed the clenbuterol by eating contaminated meat and vows to appeal any ban. He stands to be stripped of his third Tour title if the ban is applied.
Leading figures including Zapatero, sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky and several Spanish media outlets have rallied behind Contador's case.
Enrico Carpani, spokesman for the international cycling federation UCI, said seeing "Alberto crucified" would be of no benefit.
"Contador's case is doing a lot of damage to cycling," Carpani was quoted as saying by Europa Press agency on Friday. "It's not just any case since he's won the Tour de France three times and he ingested a minimum amount of clenbuterol. But the UCI has never asserted pressure for a quick resolution.
"We've got maximum confidence that the decision will be decided with calm and there won't be any negative sensation with it," Carpani said.
Carpani said the UCI would start a process to review Saxo Bank-Sunguard's Pro Team license should Contador be sanctioned. Contador signed with the Danish team for two seasons.
The Spanish federation, meanwhile, said its disciplinary committee's decision needs to be respected.
"[The federation] wants to show its total and unconditional support to the disciplinary committee," the federation said in a statement. "We ask for the complete respect of its independence."
The panel proposed the one-year ban in late January. Contador was given 10 days to present further evidence. He submitted further documentation Tuesday that he said showed "no fault or negligence" on his part.
The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if they believe the Spanish federation's verdict is too lenient.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press