Team director believes in Spaniard's innocence
Alberto Contador should accept his suspension and start looking again to the future, said Giuseppe Martinelli, who directed the Spaniard to the win of the Tour de France 2010 for Team Astana. He emphasized however, that Contador, who tested positive for Clenbuterol on the race's second rest day, was innocent of the charges.
Contador has said that he will appeal a one-year ban handed down by the Spanish cycling federation.
Contador “must accept the disqualification and start thinking of when he will ride again,” Martinelli said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He is the strongest and he will show that.”
"I want to clarify, to avoid misunderstanding, that I think Alberto is clean. Knowing all the work we did to win the Tour de France, you can imagine how much it costs me to lose. "
He echoed what others have said. “I'm sure he has done anything illegal, but the conditions are not easy to prove.”
At this point, though, the rider must decide on his future. "There are times when you must choose. Either you hit the wall and fall down, or you find the courage to start again."
"Alberto should do only what his head tells him to do, without being influenced by the many people around him and he should not make the same mistake that Marco Pantani in 1999," he said.
In 1999, Pantani was removed from the Giro d'Italia on the next-to-last day whilst wearing the leader's jersey, for a too-high haematocrit. He did not race again the entire year, apparently falling into depression. His career fluctuated until his retirement, after which he died from an overdose of cocaine in 2004.
Pantani should have been at the start at the Tour de France in 1999, said Martinelli, who was the Italian's directeur sportif at Mercatone Uno.
"I could not convince him. With 11 years more experience I'm sure now I would," Martinelli said.
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