Merckx deplores "excessive" punishment in Contador ban

Legendary Belgian surprised and upset at CAS verdict

On Monday, the news of Alberto Contador's two-year ban spread quickly across the globe and triggered a variety of reactions. At the Tour of Qatar in the Middle East, race organiser and all-time champion Eddy Merckx was baffled at the CAS decision, blaming not Contador but sporting authorities for the bad news.

"It's very sad for him and for cycling in general. It's as if somebody wanted to kill cycling," Merckx told Eurosport. "I'm very surprised and disgusted. It's bad for everyone, for the reputation of cycling, for the sponsors."

He continued by insinuating that cycling's efforts to combat doping were excessive and that other sports did not apply the rules in the same way. "I think it's going too far - when a test result is like this one, 0.0000... it's only in cycling that this sort of thing happens.

"I'm the first to say that we need controls, but I think that we are going too far in cycling."

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