The Spanish cyclist was tested positive for muscle-building stimulant, clenbuterol.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his claim that his failing the dope test was caused by eating contaminated meat on a 2010 Tour rest day.
“The presence of clenbuterol was more likely caused by the ingestion of a contaminated food supplement,” CAS said in its ruling in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Spanish Cycling Federation initially proposed giving the 29 year old cyclist a one-year ban but the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency both appealed against that decision to the CAS. The ruling on Contador came just three days after U.S. federal prosecutors dropped a doping investigation involving seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong. The American was a teammate of Contador during the Spaniard’s 2009 Tour victory.
Contador is one of the only five cyclists to win the three Grand Tours — the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta. The three time Tour de France winner, now, becomes the second champion, after Floyd Landis, to be disqualified and stripped of his title for doping.
“This is a sad day for our sport,” Pat McQuaid, the UCI president, said in a statement. “Some may think of it as a victory, but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping. Every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many.”
The CAS, however, has backdated Contador’s ban and he is eligible to compete from August 6. It means that Contador is set to miss the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the London Olympics, but he would be eligible to ride in the Spanish Vuelta, which begins on August 18.
The stripping off of Contador’s title might make Andy Schleck, the 2010 runner-up, the race winner by promotion.
“I feel sad for Alberto,” Schleck said in an e-mailed statement. “I always believed in his innocence. My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sporting way, being the best of all competitors, not in court. If I succeed this year, I will consider it as my first Tour victory.”
Contador did not make himself available for comment but is expected to hold a news conference about the ruling soon.