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Contador admits credibility is damaged

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Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference

Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference (Image credit: AFP)
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Andy Schleck leads Alberto Contador

Andy Schleck leads Alberto Contador (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) fires one off from the podium

Alberto Contador (Astana) fires one off from the podium (Image credit: Sirotti)

Alberto Contador admitted that speculation that his positive test for clenbuterol was caused by the use of blood transfusions is seriously damaging his credibility.

“I didn’t read the accusations [of blood doping] but I was told about them. That was a crippling blow,” Contador told L’Équipe, which reported the allegations in detail. “L’Équipe carries considerable weight in the sporting world and accusations based on a hypothesis can be very harmful.

“I respect everybody’s work, it’s just that I’d like that this kind of information to be treated with extreme caution. The damage could be enormous.”

The Spaniard acknowledged that in the eyes of many, his reputation will be forever tarnished, regardless of the outcome of the case.

“The damage is done for me and for cycling, once again,” Contador said. “It’s damaging for me and for the credibility of the Tour de France. It’s damaging for me and for all the teams.

“Everything I have sacrificed for this sport has been unjustly swept away in two days: I don’t admit to it. I will only fight so that the truth be known, but the harm that has been done to me is incalculable.”

On August 24, Contador was informed that a urine sample taken on July 21 had shown traces of clenbuterol, but the Tour winner did not reveal the news until September 29, apparently as the UCI had requested him to remain silent on the matter. With rumours of the positive sample circulating in Germany, Contador decided to issue a statement.

“It was a relief because I couldn’t maintain the silence anymore. I needed to free myself of the weight of this injustice. I had nothing to hide and I wanted complete transparency,” he said. “During that time, I was being solicited from all side: by my sponsors, to go to the Vuelta or to make other appearances… I had to keep smiling and act as though everything was going fine.”

Contador also claimed that there have been moments in the past weeks when he has been tempted to leave cycling, especially in the immediate aftermath of being informed of his positive test. “I said to myself: I’m quitting it all,” he said. “I saw children around my house on their bikes imitating me, and I felt like telling them ‘Let it go, don’t try and be a champion and do it correctly. This world is unjust.’”