Alberto Contador: A fast decision on Chris Froome case would be for the best

Alberto Contador has said that a fast decision on Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol would be in everybody’s best interests.

Speaking at the 2018 Vuelta a España presentation on Saturday morning, the recently retired Grand Tour star did not discuss what he thought of Froome's case itself, but he did say that it would be best for the sport as a whole if it is resolved swiftly.

"There's one thing that really needs handling, which is that the verdict is made as soon as it can be. It can't be delayed, that's bad for everybody, bad for the race organizers," Contador observed to Spanish radio stations.

At the moment, no timeline has been established for how quickly Froome's case could be resolved, but there are fears that it could drag on to the summer, when the Team Sky rider is aiming to battle both for a maiden victory in the Giro d'Italia and for a fifth win in six years in the Tour de France.

Contador himself lived through a protracted legal battle when he tested positive for clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour, a situation that was only resolved in February 2012, almost two years later, when the Court of Arbitration for Sport decreed that he should serve a two-year, partially retroactive ban. Contador has always insisted that there was no case against him and that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The Spaniard rode and won the 2011 Giro d'Italia and then placed fifth in that year’s Tour, when the final outcome of his case was still undecided. He was later stripped of those results as a consequence of his retroactive ban.

It was put to Contador that, whatever the final verdict, Froome’s case should be resolved quickly, unlike his. “You can't have cases drag on and on, it has to be dealt with quickly," Contador said. “It's in everybody’s interest."

Vuelta 2018

Now retired, the triple winner of the Vuelta a España was one of the star attractions at the race presentation in Estepona on Saturday, a part of which contained a mini-documentary of his years racing in the Spanish Grand Tour and which finished with what was arguably his most memorable victory of all, at Fuente Dé in 2012.

Contador admitted that seeing the route made him feel keen to return to racing, but said that he was not planning to stage a comeback.

"It's the start of the year and the start of the season, so it's natural to feel like you want to compete, whether it’s Paris-Nice or so on," Contador said. "I don't miss having to test out the new equipment in the training camps, but racing….and on top of that, when I'm riding a bike I feel really good.

"But I've got plenty of training partners to ‘race’ against whenever I want to. I think it’s normal to feel nostalgic, and in fact that's a good sign. But I've thought it [my retirement] through really hard."

As for the route itself, Contador, who is soon to become a commentator with Eurosport, said it “would have suited me. It's a very good route, but one with a lot of hard days where you can lose the race easily, so it'd be very stressful too.

"I like the fact it starts with an individual time trial, not a team time trial, and the good thing is that from the first day onwards, there are opportunities to take time on your rivals. Ok, some of the summit finishes are harder, some are easier, but the chances are always there.

"That means that in the last six or seven days, teams like Orica [Michelton-Scott] or Astana that like to try to mix things up, will have a really good opportunity to do that."


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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.