Geneva • Three days after U.S. prosecutors dropped their investigation of doping claims against Lance Armstrong, fellow Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was stripped of his 2010 title when sports' highest court rejected the Spanish cyclist's story that contaminated meat caused him to fail a drug test.
The 29-year-old Contador, who also won the Tour in 2007 and '09, tested positive for clenbuterol during a Tour rest day in July 2010. Contador's ban was backdated to Jan. 25, 2011 making him eligible to return on Aug. 6.
"Unlike certain other countries, notably outside Europe, Spain is not known to have a contamination problem with clenbuterol in meat," the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in its ruling. "Furthermore, no other cases of athletes having tested positive to clenbuterol allegedly in connection with the consumption of Spanish meat are known."
Contador had been thought likely to challenge Armstrong's record of seven career Tour victories. Instead, he joins Floyd Landis as the only riders stripped of their Tour titles after testing positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs. Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is now in line to take Contador's 2010 title.
The CAS verdict in Lausanne, Switzerland, was delivered 566 days after Contador cycled triumphantly along the Champs d'Elysees in Paris.
The ruling came after Armstrong's own lengthy legal fight ended Friday, with U.S. federal authorities dropping an investigation into alleged doping involving his Tour teams.
Cycling's governing body, which had joined the World Anti-Doping Agency in forcing Contador into court, said it took no satisfaction from upholding its fight against drug cheats.