29 Jan 2011

Contador maintains innocence

8:51 am on 29 January 2011

Tour de France cycling champion Alberto Contador has again denied taking performance enhancing drugs and is vowing to appeal a one-year ban imposed over a positive test on last year's race.

Contador abandoned threats to quit and vowed to fight a one-year ban which he angrily blamed on cycling's "obsolete" anti-doping controls.

Contador says he no longer trusted cycling's anti-doping system and claims his positive test for clenbuterol came from eating contaminated meat.

The 28-year-old Spanish rider says he will defend his innocence to the end. He was accompanied at a news conference by his Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis, a former Tour winner himself who has admitted doping.

Contador has 10 days to appeal the federation's initial decision to ban him for a year, communicated to the rider on Thursday, before a final verdict is reached.

Contador's decision to fight the suspension, with the possibility of taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, could be risky with the Spanish federation warning it could result in an increase in his ban.

The three-time Tour de France champion faces becoming only the second to be stripped of his title, after American Floyd Landis in 2006.