Tour de France - Contador may appeal after 'dreams collapse'

Tue, 07 Feb 18:57:00 2012

Alberto Contador made an emotional appearance at a live press conference to assert that he is innocent of doping, and confirm that he may yet appeal the CAS decision that saw him handed a two-year ban and lose his 2010 Tour de France title.

Alberto Contador Press conference - 0

The Spanish rider was retroactively banned for two years and stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after the decision on Monday, which came following an 18-month legal saga following his positive test for clenbuterol after the 2010 Tour.

But the Saxo Bank star insists that he has done nothing wrong, and that a contaminated food caused his positive test result.

"My dreams have collapsed," said Contador. "There's not been one morning that I haven't asked myself how I got into this situation. It's been a hard year. I wouldn't wish a year like this on anyone.

"Everybody has been saying that I'm guilty of something that's against my own moral standpoint. My feeling of injustice is terrible... Throughout all these months I've done everything possible to show that I was innocent. I've written it all down, gone through everything, spent hours and hours answering the questions they've put to me.

"As I said to CAS at the recent hearing, if there's anything more I could have said to show that I'm innocent then tell me what it is.

"I do feel a strange satisfaction in that at least it is all over... I feel it is particularly hard on me because the amount of clenbuterol was so small it would never change my performance."

The 29-year-old added that he is considering an appeal against the CAS's sentence.

"My lawyers are examining the possibilities and as I have said before we have to fight to the end," a grim-faced Contador said when asked if he would appeal Lausanne-based CAS's decision in the Swiss federal court, which he must do within 30 days.

"With the sentence in my hand, the sensation I still feel is that I am innocent. I did not dope myself."

News Contador

Contador also confirmed that he is to carry on riding, despite rumours that he could walk away from the sport if the CAS decision went against him.

"I will continue in cycling. I will continue to do so in a clean way as I have all my life. And I know that will make me stronger in the future."

The Spanish Cycling Federation initially proposed a one-year sanction for Contador after he tested positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol, which he blamed on eating contaminated meat.

The RFEC subsequently overturned the ban, clearing the way for the rider to return to competition but prompting an appeal to CAS by the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

WADA president John Fahey told Reuters that Contador was a "doping cheat" and said the agency had had no choice but to appeal to CAS after the RFEC exonerated the rider.

Tour winner in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and regarded as one of the greatest cyclists of his generation, Contador also faces losing his 2011 Giro d'Italia title and all his other victories last season.

He will also not be able to take part in either the 2012 Tour or the London Olympic Games.

Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis said his team and their sponsors fully supported Contador and that he hoped to continue working with him.

However, he said Contador's contract would be "suspended" for the duration of the ban.

"We have as a team chosen to support Alberto 100 per cent and give him the fullest support until things will prove that it should be different," Riis said.

"We can only respect the (CAS) ruling and this means that Alberto Contador now has to serve a ban.

"But the conclusion of the ruling is vital for the team, as the ruling focuses on the likely cause being ingestion of a contaminated supplement and at the same time states that this is unlikely to have been a case of conscious cheating."

Reuters / Eurosport

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