Alberto Contador has said today that he will appeal the one-year ban that has been proposed by the Spanish Cycling Federation as a sanction for his positive test for Clenbuterol at last year's Tour de France. The Spaniard spoke at a press conference while at the Saxo Bank-SunGard training camp in Mallorca.
"I will do whatever is necessary to defend my innocence to the end," Contador said at the press conference. "The penalty is not fair."
Contador remains adamant that the Clenbuterol entered his system accidentally, through the consumption of contaminated meat.
"I have never doped," he said. "I think I am an example of cleanliness. I believed in the test system, not now. I do not believe in the system. I know what I'm exposed to and that's why I never doped.
"The only mistake I made is to eat meat that contained Clenbuterol. I have made some 500 controls in my life that have been in my house, on birthdays, they have taken me out of the cinema... and I accepted this because I always trusted this test system, but I do not believe in it. The system is obsolete and outdated."
Contador complained that he learned of the proposed sanction through press reports rather than hearing the news through official channels.
"It is shameful that it was leaked to the press before I was told officially," he said. "All this has allowed me to see the gaps and how poor the sport is, because I have given and suffered so much.
"It has been a public trial, an impeachment, with free and malicious comments that have a significant role in the proposed penalty."
Contador also confirmed that contrary to the stance he aired in October, he will not retire from the sport if sanctioned.
He was flanked at the press conference by Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis, who refused to be drawn on speculation that he has a contingency plan in place should he have to face the 2011 season without Contador's services.
"It's still speculation," Riis said. "We need to await the final rulings. I'm aware of the possibility that Alberto is not going to ride with us this year.
"I have a plan with Alberto and a plan for the team without him, but that is something I am keeping to myself for now."