Contador said from the beginning that the traces of clenbuterol came from inadvertently eating contaminated meat. (Some farmers use the drug to boost beef production, although it is outlawed in the European Union.) But not surprisingly, he was unable to provide a sample of the allegedly contaminated meat more than a year after the fact.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union argued instead that the drug entered Contador's system not through meat but through an illegal blood transfusion, citing traces of a plastic found in his system the day before he tested positive for clenbuterol.
After spending 90 pages rejecting the allegations from both sides, the panel of CAS arbitrators concluded in four paragraphs that the most likely cause was the use of contaminated food supplements, a possibility that although unlikely, can’t be “excluded.” That was enough to convict Contador, who CAS said had not satisfactorily proven how the substance had entered his body.
CAS suspended him for two years and stripped him of the titles he had won since the detection.
Contador can appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court, but only on procedural grounds. He still also faces a fine of nearly €2.5 million ($3.3 million) for his winnings during the two-year suspension, which will end in August.
IN PICTURES: The ups and downs of Alberto Contador