Alberto Contador clinches victory in Tour of Catalunya

Alberto Contador celebrates his Tour of Catalunya win
Contador has won the Tour de France three times

Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador defended his lead in the final stage to clinch the Tour of Catalunya in Barcelona on Sunday.

His win came after the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Thursday that it would challenge Contador's domestic acquittal on doping charges.

Italy's Michele Scarponi finished 23 seconds behind the Spaniard with Ireland's Dan Martin in third.

"I haven't raced here to make any response to anybody," said Contador.

The result was Contador's second successive title, after the Vuelta de Murcia, since winning his appeal to the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation against a provisional one-year doping ban in February.

Contador laid the foundations of victory in a powerful performance on the mountain stage in Andorra on Wednesday and he comfortably contained Scarponi's challenge as the field headed into the centre of Barcelona.

France's Samuel Dumoulin edged out a pack of chasers to wrap up the final 77.4-mile stage from Parets del Valles.

"This race was one I really wanted, it is very prestigious," said Contador.

"This was one of the hardest week-long races I've ever done. I've done others with more mountains in them that were far easier.

"This has been a very good way of sharpening my form for the Tour of Italy."

However, Contador's participation for the rest of the season is still in doubt after the UCI announced that it would take his case to the the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Cycling's governing body feels Contador's claim that eating contaminated beef had resulted in a positive test for banned substance clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France has not been proven.

Cas is set to rule on his case before the start of this year's Tour de France on 2 July.

If his ban is reinstated, Contador, 28, could pursue his case through the Swiss civil courts.

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