MADRID -- Cyclist Alberto Contador and track athletes involved in Operation Galgo should receive maximum bans if they are found guilty of doping, Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said Thursday.
Contador is facing a two-year ban and being stripped of his third Tour de France title after failing a doping test during the race. Fourteen people are implicated in Galgo, including world steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez.
"In the case of Contador and any other athletes -- maximum sanction when we know" if they are guilty, Blanco told The Associated Press. "When it's proven an athlete has doped, there is no debate -- authorities need to act."
While all results are usually annulled and prize money can be paid back with a doping sanction, Blanco was also open to the suggestion that Spanish athletes pay back grants earned from the state to assist in training.
"If they are shown to be guilty then there's no debate, they have to return everything," Blanco said from COE's Madrid headquarters. "Take away the grant and, even, try to make them pay back the money."
Despite backing Contador after news of his failed test, Blanco dismissed any notion the Spanish cyclist would get preferential treatment after the cycling federation's president also came out in support. Contador tested positive for clenbuterol, which he has blamed on contaminated meat.
"Until it is proven that an athlete had doped, you can't criticize the athlete," Blanco said. "There is not a single doubt over the ability of our disciplinary committees in any Spanish federation. They respect the rules in that sense, so people can rest assured."
Blanco was concerned over the fallout of Galgo, a Spanish Civil Guard investigation, which has divided Spanish track and field and accused Dominguez of being a supplier of performance-enhancing drugs. But he didn't expect recent scandals to affect the country's sports image as it considers bids to host the 2020 or 2024 Games.
Madrid lost to London for 2012 and Rio de Janeiro for 2016. Barcelona and Zaragoza are considering bids for the 2022 Winter Games.
Blanco insisted Spain was at the forefront of the battle on doping.
"Nobody fights against doping more than Spain does," he said.