Riders await outcome of doping investigations
This year's Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, along with the race's green jersey, Alessandro Petacchi, will not appear at the 2011 event's presentation in Paris on Tuesday next week, due to ongoing doping investigations. Even though the Spaniard has attended the presentation several times in the past - and was still ready to fly to France two weeks ago - he has now decided to skip the media event if the International Cycling Union (UCI) does not clear his name.
"We are still awaiting the UCI's verdict," explained Contador's press officer Jacinto Vidarte to L'Equipe on Thursday. "We always hoped that the decision would be made before the Tour presentation. Alberto wants his innocence proved by the UCI. If they don't make a decision by Tuesday, I can't see Alberto going to Paris. The Tour presentation is not his priority today. He prefers to miss out on the official presentation of the route and be at the start of the 2011 Tour next year."
Moreover, the media pressure at the event in the Palais des Congrès would be too much for Contador, who prefers to remain silent these days. "I think a lot of harm has already been done," Vidarte continued. "His presence would certainly focus the attention of the assembled media and this may even harm the Tour presentation itself."
Contador's greatest rival, Tour runner-up Andy Schleck, will attend the event together with his brother Fränk. Other riders scheduled to attend are Cadel Evans, Ivan Basso, Mark Cavendish, George Hincapie, Alexandre Vinokourov, Vincenzo Nibali, Samuel Sanchez, Joaquim Rodriguez and the Frenchmen Thomas Voeckler, Anthony Charteau, Sandy Casar, Yoann Offredo and Jérôme Coppel. In total, 28 teams will be represented by some 40 riders.
Alessandro Petacchi, the Tour's green jersey winner, will also not attend. The Italian is waiting for the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) as to whether it would refer or drop an investigation in him using illegal doping products.
Petacchi has been accused of using Pfc (Perfluorocarbon) and human serum albumin, and could serve a lifetime ban if a CONI trial finds him guilty. Petacchi was already suspended for nine months for Salbutamol use at the 2007 Giro d'Italia.
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