Alberto Contador decided not to race the Oviedo criterium in Spain while his doping investigation is still underway but received the same applause and cheers as race winner Ivan Basso and veteran Chechu Rubiera, who officially ended his career at the race.
Contador was applauded by the crowd when he went on stage with the riders and cut the ribbon to official start the race. He also spent time with Dr Zubizarreta, who saved his life when he crashed and was diagnosed with a cerebral cavernoma at the Vuelta a Asturias in 2004.
"Asturias always has a special place in my heart and had a huge effect on my life. I also won on the Angliru and Fuentes de Invierno climbs,” he told La Nueva Espana newspaper
“I also had to come to Rubiera’s goodbye to cycling because he was a teammate, a great domestique and a great person.”
While watching the racing from the side of the road, Contador tweeted: "Thanks to everyone for their support. You’re the ones who keep up my enthusiasm and strength. You are incredible."
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) won the Criterium de Oviedo in Spain by beating Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) in the points and by taking second behind Rubiera (RadioShack) in the elimination race.
Basso scored 18 points in the sprints, finishing ahead of Barredo, who scored 15 and Rubiera, who picked up 12 points.
Rubiera broke away with Basso in the Elimination race and then beat the Italian in a sprint to end his career with one last victory.