The International Cycling Union (UCI) has asked the Spanish federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador for failing a drugs test, the UCI said on Monday.
"The UCI contacted the Spanish federation and asked them to open disciplinary proceedings against Contador," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said.
The news was supposed to have been announced through a statement but a computer bug at the UCI headquarters prevented cycling's governing body from sending it out, Carpani added.
Contador tested positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol on the second rest day of this year's Tour de France, which he won for the third time, beating Luxembourg's Andy Schleck by 39 seconds.
The 27-year-old Spaniard said traces of the banned substance were found in his system after he ate contaminated meat, prompting the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate the matter further.
Contador faces the possibility of a two-year ban and losing his Tour title.
The Spanish federation can decide whether to ban Contador, who has been provisionally suspended by the UCI, or to clear him.
If the federation decides not to sanction the world's top rider, the UCI and WADA will have the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Contador's B-sample analysis confirmed the result of the first test.
The rider, one of five to have won the three big Tours (France, Italy and Spain), has threatened to quit the sport if he is banned.
Contador signed with Bjarne Riis's Saxo Bank team in August, after deciding not to renew his contract with Astana.
Saxo Bank have said will continue to stay on as title sponsors of the team in 2011 even if Contador were to be suspended.
In a rocky year for cycling, Tour of Spain runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera tested positive the banned plasma substitute hydroxyethyl starch.