Alberto Contador has revealed his frustration he felt throughout the investigation into his positive test for Clenbuterol during an interview aired late Tuesday evening in Spain, following his clearance by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation.
"The truth is today is a good day," Contador said in the interview on Veo7 television. "It's been an incredible number of weeks and months that I wouldn't wish on absolutely anybody — you'd have to have lived these past months to know how it feels.
"The truth is the damage done to your image is irreparable, with all the stupidities that are said about you."
Contador explained that he ultimately found the sequence of events upsetting.
"The fault is with the institutions that haven't served their purpose and who haven't been able to review a case like this," the 28-year-old Spaniard said. "It's been six months of sleepless nights, pulling your hair out — there are times when I cried."
The 28-year-old tested positive to Clenbuterol on July 21, 2010 – the second rest day of the Tour de France he went on to win for the third time from Luxembourg's Andy Schleck.
On January 26, Contador was suspended for one year for the positive test but the Spaniard chose to risk a two-year ban by appealing the decision of which he was today cleared.
"When you have done nothing and my conscience is completely clear all that matters is that you recognise that you have done nothing, so to accept a year as was proposed was not something that I could accept because there was such a great injustice that I had to fight," he said.
The International Cycling Union or World Anti-Doping Agency can still appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Contador admitted this would "probably" happen during the interview.
The pre-recorded interview went to air as Contador travelled to Portugal for his first race with his new team Saxo Bank-SunGard at the Volta ao Algarve where he is defending champion. He hinted that recent events had taken their toll on his preparation, saying: "We've been training but I'm not in the same shape as other years."
Contador explained that he could not prepare for the season beyond May's Giro d'Italia, which he won in 2008, due to the likelihood of any appeals.
"For the moment I'm planning the season up until the Giro and then after the Giro I'll see what the next objectives are, depending with what happens in the coming months," he said.
One thing Contador could confirm however, was his impending vegetarianism.
"One thing is clear - I am not going to ingest any more meat," he said