Contador may still appeal doping ban

Contador may still appeal doping ban

MADRID - The Associated Press
Contador may still appeal doping ban

Alberto Contador speaks during a conference in Pinto on the outskirts of Madrid, a day after being stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title and banned for two years. AP photo

Alberto Contador plans to make sure his two-year doping ban doesn’t mark the end of his career.

Contador on Feb. 7 vowed to return to the pinnacle of cycling, maintaining his innocence in the face of a verdict by sport’s highest court that stripped the Spanish star of his 2010 Tour de France title and blotted his illustrious career with a big doping stain. He said his lawyers are still considering whether to appeal his two-year ban - which is retroactive and will expire in August - and insisted that even if the punishment stands he will return to challenge for more Tour titles.

“I’m sure of one thing: I want to come back to ride the best races,” Contador said at a news conference, making in his first comments since the verdict on Feb. 6.

He had based his defense on a bad steak, saying he must have digested the clenbuterol by eating contaminated meat. The Court of Arbitration for Sport didn’t accept that excuse.

Contador said his legal team are examining whether to appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court.

“I’ve tried everything to understand this ruling, but I cannot,” said Contador, who underwent a lie-detector test during the doping investigation. “If there is anything else I can do to prove my innocence I’d like to know.”

He said the ordeal has left him disillusioned with the sport and that he would never recommend professional cycling to anyone.

“The only satisfaction I feel is that whatever decision was reached, the ruling never says I doped,” Contador said during a 50-minute news conference that was often interrupted by rounds of applause and yells of “Contador” from supportive locals. “There was never an intention on my part.”

Contador will be stripped of all results from races in which he participated since Jan. 25, 2011 - the day the Spanish federation proposed a one-year ban, which was squashed through appeal before being taken by the UCI and WADA to CAS.

“They can take those two years and fine me but they can never take away my victories,” said a defiant yet soft-spoken Contador.