Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) remains focused on winning his second Giro d’Italia in five days time in Milan. He leads the race by nearly five minutes over rival Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD).
Although Contador faces his own problems as a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing hangs over him, it’s nothing compared to what faces his former Astana team mate and rival Lance Armstrong.
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In the USA an investigation has been moving forward for more than a year into Armstrong. Other former team-mates have accused him of doping in testimony’s heard by a Grand Jury. TV programme ’60 Minutes’ aired an interview with Tyler Hamilton on Sunday where he repeated what the details of his testimony.
Hamilton claimed Armstrong took EPO and testosterone, and transfused his own blood during his career. Armstrong’s most loyal team mate George Hincapie is believed to have given a similar confession to the investigation.
Having been ambushed by Armstrong and Bruyneel in the 2009 Tour de France, Contador could have been forgiven for being a little smug, but instead he distanced himself from Armstrong’s situation.
“It doesn’t really apply to me. I think in the present,” Contador said in a press conference today. “All you have to do is look at the fans, the amount of fans out there – in the cold, the rain – that’s the most important thing.”
Armstrong has denied doping allegations throughout his career. His spokesman, Mark Fabiani issued a statement after the ’60 Minutes’ programme that pointed out the numerous anti-doping tests Armstrong passed and discredit the programme’s “serious lack of journalistic fairness.”
Contador raced with Armstrong at team Astana in 2009 after Armstrong returned from retirement. He is the best Grand Tour racer since Armstrong, winning the Giro once, the Tour three times and the Vuelta a España once.
He, as with Armstrong, has his critics. At the Tour de France last year, Contador failed a test for banned drug, clenbuterol. The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) acquitted him, but he faces another hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next month.
Unscrupulous athletes use clenbuterol to lose weight and breathe easier. There are also reports that the drug may have entered Contador’s system via a blood transfusion.
Contador maintains his innocence and claims the positive result came from eating a contaminated steak bought in Irún, Spain. He mentioned the fans today, but not the ones who wrote “Contador… Filetto o Fialetta?” (‘Filet or phial’) last week or the one who waved a steak on a fishing line in front of him while he was climbing Monte Zoncolan on Saturday.
Giro d’Italia 2011: Latest news
Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 24)
Controversial Crostis climb removed from Giro route
Sky leader Lofkvist loses more time at the Giro
Giro contenders struggle with Contador’s dominance
Contador widens Giro advantage but Tour doping case waits
Porte reflects, one year after Giro success
Le Mevel goes on attack for Giro’s pink jersey
Giro fines Contador for missing press conference
Cavendish responds to ‘team car’ accusations at Giro
Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 15)
Giro’s Sicilian cyclists proud to face Mount Etna
Contador surprises at Giro with attack ahead of mountains
Contador minds food at Giro as CAS decision nears
Weening supported by Rabobank and model Kroes
Local lad Appollonio bears fruit in Fiuggi
Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 12 edition)
Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour
Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d’Italia
Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro
Tuesday’s Giro stage in memory of Weylandt
Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt
Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash
Giro news shorts (May 8)
Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow
Giro 2011: Who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule