Less than 24 hours after he was formally notified that he is cleared to race after testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) has said he will contest the Giro d’Italia this summer.
Contador’s only participation in the Giro was in 2008, the year he won it en route to becoming Spain’s first ever rider to do the ‘Grand Slam’ and take all three Grand Tours.
Prior to that, the Spaniard will be racing the Tour of the Algarve, followed by the Tour of Murcia, the Tour of Castille and Leon, the Tour of Catalunya, and at least one Ardennes Classics.
However, Contador is refusing to be drawn on whether he will race the Tour de France or not. Having said in various interviews that he appreciates ASO’s ‘discretion’ in the case – so far the Tour owners have refused to comment on Contador at all, other than hope for a speedy solution, something hard to disagree with given the length of the case so far.
The question of whether the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will appeal to CAS could well have influenced in Contador’s refusal to be drawn on his programme beyond the end of May. If an appeal is made – and WADA has up to seven weeks to decide if it will or not, whilst the UCI has a month – then the process could coincide with the Tour de France itself. Contador himself has said he expects an appeal to take place.
Contador has not been so reserved about the UCI, whose president Pat McQuaid said at one point in a French newspaper that Contador had ‘damaged cycling’. These words were later qualified by a UCI spokesman to mean ‘the Contador case’, but Contador – who met with UCI officials to discuss his case during the first part of his provisional ban – has not appreciated them whatever.
“I was riding up a mountain thinking about those words and it seemed incredible to me that he [McQuaid] should say that when I’ve been following the UCI’s instructions for the last six months.”
“It’s particularly surprising that your own sport, your own authorities, take you and blame you, they want to guillotine you when they know you’ve not made a mistake. It’s very difficult to understand. I give everything to this sport, I give them my full support and I don’t deserve to have that said about me.”