Alberto Contador, who returned from a two-year doping ban last month, won cycling’s Vuelta a Espana for a second time today.
The 29-year-old Spaniard, who rides for the Saxo-Bank team, finished ahead of countrymen Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez in the three-week event, which he also won in 2008.
“This victory is maybe the most beautiful of all my wins,” he told Agence France-Presse.
Contador was suspended and stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after he tested positive for muscle-building stimulant clenbuterol on the way to winning that race. He also lost his 2011 Giro d’Italia title.
A laboratory in Cologne found 50 picograms per milliliter of clenbuterol in a urine sample he gave to anti-doping officials on the last rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, an amount ruling body Union Cycliste Internationale called “very small.” A picogram is one trillionth of a gram.
Veterinarians in Spain rejected Contador’s defense that the presence of the drug came from eating contaminated beef.
Germany’s John Degenkolb of the Argos-Shimano team won today’s final stage of the Vuelta, with Contador in 54th spot.