Alberto Contador has told Spanish sports daily MARCA that he hopes that, “for the good of cycling,” the Operación Puerto trial will be as far-reaching as possible and that he was willing to hand over his DNA to clarify “everything for once and for all.”
Speaking about the huge media interest in the arrival of Operación Puerto at the Madrid courts a mere seven years after the police investigation took place, Contador said: “I hope it is useful for something, and for the good of cycling, that we get to the bottom of this. That way, if things are done well and the case is completed correctly, we can finally talk starting about sport.”
Contador was originally due to testify in the Puerto trial but it was finally decided that his witness statement would not be necessary. However, he told MARCA that if required he would provide his DNA – a request made to all the riders who have testified in the case.
“I wouldn’t think about it for a moment,” Contador said. “I would hand it over the moment they asked for it so that everything could be clarified for once and for all.”
Asked about the Tour of Oman, where Contador finished second behind Chris Froome (Sky), the Saxo-Tinkoff rider said he was “pleased that all the big names are already up there, it’s better for the fans than waiting for the big Tours.”
“Chris was very strong, that’s undeniable, but although he beat me, I was very pleased with how I raced there because I felt very good. If I had tackled the race differently, maybe the result would have been different, but Froome and his team were very strong.”
Contador said his weight had been to blame for failing to stay closer in contact with Froome on the Green Mountain stage where the Briton took the lead. “The stage was really aggressive on that climb and with the weight I’m currently carrying, it was very difficult to maintain the right sort of rhythm.”
Asked if he felt that many of the Tour de France contenders had started their seasons too strongly, Contador, slightly contradicting himself, answered in the affirmative. “Yes. You look at the classification of the Tour of Oman and we were all up there. It was like a Grand Tour or something.”
Whilst unwilling to enter into too much detail, Contador said that he had lost some more weight, but that “we are in March and at this point in time you don’t have to be at a maximum.”
Froome and Contador, in any case, will cross swords this week again in Tirreno-Adriatico, where Contador says he “hopes to be fighting for the overall triumph.” He admitted, though, that “with age, it’s harder to get top form. I will try to win but this year the level of competition in Tirreno is going to be very high, everybody’s chosen that race. That’s good and personally motivates me, but it’s a race I don’t know, one that I’ve never taken part in.” Previously Contador has always opted for Paris-Nice, a race he first won in 2007 and again in 2010.
The 30-year-old from Pinto said that he has studied the Tirreno-Adriatico route, which he describes as “very well-balanced,” with long stages for Milan-San Remo contenders and an individual time trial on the last day, of 9.3 kilometres, which could be decisive. “It’s a race in which every second counts.”
After repeating that he will try to win, Contador said, “but if I don’t then hopefully my team-mate [Roman] Kreuziger will, although with Froome, [Cadel] Evans (BMC), [2011 winner Vincenzo] Nibali (Astana), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and among others, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), they are going to be watching our every move.”
After Tirreno-Adriatico, Contador’s race program will include the GP Nobili Rubinetterie, Critérium International, the Tour of the Basque Country and then almost certainly a long break before the Dauphiné Libéré. He may yet take part in some of the Ardennes Classics, with Flèche Wallone, in which he took third in 2011, one favourite target, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège also possible.