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Andy Schleck hopes Contador can prove innocence

Andy Schleck has said that he hopes Alberto Contador can prove his innocence in the wake of his positive test for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France. The Luxembourg rider also stated that he is firmly opposed to the night-time doping controls proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent report on drug testing at the 2010 Tour de France.

"I hope that Alberto is innocent and can prove it," Schleck told Deia. "I don't think he's done anything but it's not for me to decide. There are doctor and assessors who are handling all the information to decide on this case. The only thing I can say is that I hope he is innocent and that I believe in him. Nothing more."

Schleck finished second behind Contador at July's Tour de France and stands to be named winner of the race should the Spaniard be sanctioned for a doping infraction. However, Schleck is adamant that he would not like to win the Tour in such a manner.

"I didn't win the Tour on the bike, I didn't arrive in Paris in yellow," he said. "I don't know what they're going to decide, but for me, I'm still second in the Tour."

Schleck led the Tour until the infamous stage to Port de Bales, when he slipped his chain and Contador jumped clear to move into yellow. While the outcome of Contador's adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol may ultimately diminish the relevance of the debate over the rights and wrongs of the affair, Schleck said that it is a moment that he will always remember.

"I forgave Alberto, but I can never forget what happened," Schleck said. "This is one of those situations that you don't forget. If you come to me and apologise to me for something you've done, I'll tell you ‘OK, that's alright, I accept the apology.' But forgetting is another matter.

"When you're a champion you don't act in this way. Alberto made a mistake. I'm fine with that, but I'm not forgetting it. Apologizing doesn't change what happened."

WADA's recently published report into drug testing at the 2010 Tour also drew Schleck's ire. In stark contrast to Mark Cavendish's (HTC-Columbia) support of the independent observers' recommendation that tests be carried out at night, Schleck feels that such controls would be a step too far.

"Testing during the night? That's ridiculous," Schleck said. "We must preserve the privacy of the athlete. I think it's enough that we wake up at 6 in the morning."

Schleck brothers sign four-year deal with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

Andy Schleck confirmed that he and his brother Fränk have penned a four-year agreement with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. He also explained that a formal name for the team has yet to be decided, but that the squad is following a similar structural model to the HTC and Garmin-Cervélo teams.

"It's an entrepreneur in Luxembourg who put it all together. He is the big boss," Schleck said. "The team was created in a similar way to High Road and Slipstream a few years ago."

Schleck also denied that the Luxembourg government has contributed to the sponsorship of the new team.

"There is no public money. It's all private capital from an entrepreneur who has a lot of money and who wanted to get involved in cycling," said Schleck. "We have small sponsors, but the team name has not yet been decided.

"The project is for a minimum of five years. I have signed for four, like my brother."

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Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.