Spain’s Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) races towards Sunday and his second Giro d’Italia win despite a likely doping suspension.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), even though it postponed its hearing date, should stick to the anti-doping rules that state a rider found positive for clenbuterol is guilty regardless of his excuse. Contador tested positive for the drug at last year’s Tour de France, but says he’s innocent. He explained the positive test was a result of eating a contaminated steak purchased in Spain.
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If CAS finds him guilty, it may ban him for one to two years and strip him of his third Tour de France win. Since the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) cleared him to race in February, he may keep his second Giro d’Italia win he’s poised to take on Sunday. Even if he’s found guilty, he said that he would not even consider giving the pink jersey back in honour the Giro d’Italia.
“Sincerely?” he responded to Cycling Weekly’s question in a press conference yesterday. “Those are things that don’t even warrant a moment of my time.”
Contador won a small battle yesterday when the CAS announced it will postpone his hearing dates from June 6 to 8. It has yet to announce the new dates, but the hearing may not be until September – after the Tour de France.
Most of the fans that line the Giro d’Italia route, today racing from Bergamo to Macugnaga, support the 28-year-old. He’s part of the sport, and they love the sport. However, the general public’s confidence in Contador will likely dip after the race ends and attention is solely on his doping case.
Yesterday’s press conference was a sign of the coming month. Questions focused mostly on doping and his case after CAS’ announcement hours earlier.
“I don’t really know all about this news – my lawyers are following the details – I am not really following every little detail,” Contador responded to a journalist’s question. “I am very optimistic, when the hearing comes, the truth will come out and in that sense I am very optimistic.”
Contador avoided talking about how the change in CAS hearing dates will likely allow him to race the Tour de France and how it will create even more controversy.
“I am in the Giro d’Italia, it’s very important and I am going to completely focus on it. I don’t even think about anything else – the pink jersey is the only thing that I think about.”
He answered a few other questions about the race. He leads it by nearly five minutes, 4-58 minutes over Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). The last time the Giro was won by such a margin was in 2006, when Ivan Basso won by 9-18 minutes.
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Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 18 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 17 photo gallery by Graham Watson
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