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Contador Wins Cycling’s Vuelta a Espana After Return From Ban

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.

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