On Friday, federal prosecutors closed their investigation into whether Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs without filing any charges against him.
Today, in a separate case, an appeals court found that Alberto Contador did use clenbuterol, a weight loss and muscle building drug, when he won the 2010 Tour de France. If you recall, Contador blamed tainted meat for introducing the substance into his body, though he tested positive for plasticizers commonly found in IV bags at the same time.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, overturned the original ruling by the Spanish cycling federation that cleared Contador. The effect is a two-year racing ban from the time of the accusation, which ends on August 5th and strips him of all race results during that time, including the 2010 TdF. That means Andy Schleck will become the de facto winner of that year’s Tour, and Contador loses his 2011 Giro d’Italia win, among others.
For Armstrong, he can breathe some sigh of relief that the federal criminal inquiry has been dropped, which included investigating possible crimes of defrauding the government, money laundering, drug trafficking and conspiracy. The charges were under consideration largely because his Postal Service team was funded by a U.S. government body rather than private enterprise. This little victory is somewhat overshadowed by an ongoing investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which is supported by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).