Alberto Contador has said that he will return to professional cycling when his suspension expires in August and says that he may challenge the ban imposed on him by the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Dwarfed by the barrier of microphones placed in front if him, a somewhat defiant Contador gave his first public appearance on Tuesday evening since being banned by CAS on Monday for failing an anti-doping test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. He was stripped of the 2010 Tour title, and all of his results since then, including the 2011 Giro d’Italia overall win.

“I will continue in cycling,” said Contador, speaking from the press conference held in a hotel in his home town of Pinto, near Madrid, Spain. “I will continue to do so in a clean way as I have all my life… I know that will make me stronger in the future.”

“I have done everything possible to show that I am innocent,” he told the assembled media. 

Contador claimed that banned drug clenbuterol entered his system via a tainted steak – a theory discounted as improbable by CAS.

Contador thanked his fans for their support during the past 18 months, and received several vocal messages of support from people at the press conference. “Every victory I’ve had hasn’t just been mine, it’s been for the people. They’ll decide if I am a champion or not,” he said.

Contador said that his lawyers are looking at the possibility of lodging an appeal with the Swiss federal court against the CAS decision to suspend him from competition. It will be his final avenue of appeal.

Contador’s back-dated suspension will expire on August 5 2012, technically leaving him free to race in the 2012 Vuelta a Espana. Contador’s Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis was at the conference with Contador, and said that the team will continue to stick by the Spaniard.

Earlier on Tuesday, World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey branded Contador a ‘cheat’, telling the Associated Press: “The simple fact is that anyone who has a prohibited substance in their system is a cheat.”

“Every day a cheat is caught it is a good day for sport,” said Fahey.

Related links

Contador banned for two years after clenbuterol positive

Hushovd reacts to Contador decision

Schleck reacts to Contador ban

Contador’s clenbuterol case in brief

Alberto Contador: Rider Profile

  • Morgan

    Seeing him sat next to Riis seemed only too appropriate – 2 cheats together.

  • Mark N

    I have now lost all respect for Contador – when other riders have cheated and been found guilty, they own up to it (albeit eventually in the cases of Landis & Virenque).

    Contador should prove he’s a man, admit his guilt, serve what’s left of his puny ban and come back and prove that he can win clean.

    Not surprised that Riis is sticking by him – after all, wasn’t he a drugs cheat as well ??? About time his 1996 win was taken from him – absolutely disgraceful that it hasn’t been…

  • Graham White

    This is an example of bureacracy failing to serve the athletes and the public. 566 days to reach a decision.

    The decision puts all athletes at risk of testing positive. Many people have forgotten the following reports:
    The test lab used equipment far more sensitive than that required by WADA;
    The level of clenbuterol was below the required threshold of sensitivity, i.e. if the sample had been tested at another lab it would have been negative;
    The samples taken adjacent to the positive sample were negative.
    Clenbuterol takes a long time to be eliminated from the body (days for a therapeutic dose).

    CAS have acknowledged that the evidence supports accidental ingestion, i.e. supported Contador’s plea for mitigation, but have still given out a 2 year ban. If this were the outcome of a random test to, say, a lower profile cyclist, would their end career. I’d think carefully about the implications of this precedent before embarking on a career in professional sport.

    WADA and CAS are behaving like the British penal system in the late 18th/early 19th century, when a minor offence resulted in transportation to Australia. It is time to overhaul the penalties to reflect the nature of the transgression.

  • Steve Fred

    Given the long line of cyclists who have brought the sport into disrepute and specifically the Tour de France, then any negative results, unless the rider can prove categorically otherwise, should result in a ban. By all means appeal if he has evidence to prove it (which he obviously hasn’t), but Contador should accept it and come back in 2013, showing that he is legitimate rider who is clean. He shouldn’t have won the 2010 TdF anyway after attacking Andy Schleck on Stage 15, the so-called chaingate affair Thankfully, we saw Schleck’s strong performance in that tour so Contador’s being stripped of the overall win is unlikely going to have much of an effect on the sport again as it did with the Floyd Landis episode in 2006.

  • Robert Markle

    Yeah ok appeal the decision but don’t let the guy race. It’s a bunch of crap that he’s been allowed to race all this time.