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Not Guilty

Back in the saddle: Contador cleared of doping charges

The Tour de France winner’s one-year doping ban has been lifted by the Spanish Cycling Federation.

Updated 16:40

TOUR DE FRANCE champion Alberto Contador has been successful in his appeal to have his year-long suspension from cycling lifted, it was announced in the last few minutes.

The Spaniard has been cleared of all charges of doping by the Spanish Cycling Federation, meaning that he can keep his Tour de France title and defend his crown in this year’s race.

Now that Contador’s ban has been lifted, the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency will have a one-month window in which they can decide to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Spaniard was given a one-year provisional ban in August after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol during last year’s Tour.

At the time, Contador, 28, denied all charges of doping, claiming that he had inadvertantly consumed the substance by eating a piece of contaminated meat.

Spanish newspapers reported last night that sources close to the disciplinary committee in charge of the appeals process were ready to lift the ban with immediate effect. As of 2pm GMT, however, there had still been no official word from the Spanish Cycling Federation.

Although it has not yet been announced when the Spaniard can be expected to return to competition, Team Saxo Bank-SunGard were reportedly preparing him to take place in the Tour of the Algarve which commences tomorrow.

Contador won the event last year by 30 seconds when racing on behalf of the Astana team.

Read Cillian Kelly’s latest cycling column for TheScore here >