Alberto Contador is expected to travel to Fuertaventura in the Spanish Canary Islands on Sunday to meet up with his new Saxo Bank-SunGard teammates but team owner Bjarne Riis has made it clear the press will not be welcome as the team works behind closed doors in preparation for the 2011 season.
“The hotel will not be a fortress closed to everyone outside the team,” Riis reportedly told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “It won’t a public event but a private gathering for internal team purposes, with a huge series of different activities that will keep us all very busy. Rider will not have time to speak to journalists and of course there will be no press conference.”
The two-week camp at the Playitas resort will be the first time the riders come together since Contador’s positive test for Clenbuterol was confirmed at the end of September. Many of the riders and staff in this year’s Saxo Bank team have moved to the new Luxembourg Cycling Project and Riis has been forced to rebuild his squad, while Contador fights to clear his name.
Contador submitted his defence documents to the Competition Committee of the Spanish Cycling Federation on Friday morning and gave an interview to Spanish television. He again said he may quit the sport if he is given a two-year ban but hoped the disciplinary process in Spain may be over by the New Year. However, the case could take much longer if it then goes to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Riis is in regular contact with Contador but admitted it is impossible to draw up Contador’s race programme because he does not know if the three-time Tour de France winner will allowed to race in 2011.
"I speak regularly with Contador. He seems okay, relaxed and is training. Everything seems normal, but of course, if we try to draw up a calendar of events for next year, it is impossible," Riis reportedly told El Pais.