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Contador backs lifetime ban for mechanical doping

Alberto Contador has called for any rider caught mechanically doping to be handed a life time suspension. The Tinkoff rider made the comments at an event with clothing brand Sportful in Kontich, Belgium where he also repeated his desire to "continue next year".

"Mechanical fraud is indeed a hot topic now," Contador said. "I do not expect that someone in the pro peloton will be caught. There are still extensive checks? Which fool will get it into his head to take part in that story? It is unfortunate that cycling is that now confronting this again."

A joint investigation by French television programme Stade 2 and Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claimed that mechanical doping was used in the Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali races, while Belgian Femke Van den Driessche was found to have a motor in her bike at the 'cross Worlds earlier this year.

"First there was the fight against doping. The brouhaha had dies down and now the affair of mechanical fraud. It's a pity. I therefore believe that anyone caught in such matters must be dealt with. A lifetime suspension must be the only verdict. No pardon," added Contador.

Contador had started the season with the intention of it being his last in the professional peloton but announced during the Tour of the Basque Country -a race he's now won four times, that he will continue racing in 2017. While the 33-year-old has changed his mind about racing on, he isn't making any adjustments to his build up to the Tour de France in July.

"I started with a training camp and then rode the Tour of the Algarve, Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalonia and the Basque Country. Now I read in a short period of rest and then rebuild what comes with the Tour de France," said Contador who was third overall in the Algarve and second at both Paris-Nice and Catalunya before his Basque win.

"The run-up to the Tour de France is likely to again go via the Dauphiné. But I in the next few days I'll explore some important stages of the Tour. And there is also a training camp scheduled. Many people have asked me which Tour I've won is the best, but I still think that of 2007. The first one I won."

Tour de France and 2017 options

A winner of the Tour in 2007 and 2009, Contador crashed out of the French Grand Tour in 2014 and finished fifth at last year's race having won the Giro d'Italia in May. In 2016, Contador is building his season around a third Tour title but explained he will face a tough fight to achieve his aim.

"I'm certainly not the only candidate for the yellow jersey in Paris" added Contador. "I expect a lot from Christopher Froome and Nairo Quintana. Froome has already won the Tour, Quintana wants to. In addition there's also Fabio Aru, Vincenzo Nibali and certainly Alejandro Valverde is a candidate. Am I the top favourite? That's another question."

Contador has reversed his decision to hang up the wheels but his team owner Oleg Tinkov has shown no inclination to renounce his decision to withdraw his sponsorship of the Tinkoff team.Team manager Stefano Feltrin has been working on securing a new title sponsor by the end of the Giro in May although that may not be enough to keep Contador for 2017

"There is also the fact that Tinkoff stops sponsoring the team," Contador said of the current situation. "People are still looking for new backers. I myself had contact with other teams and maybe I can get my own team of the ground? Look, there are so many moves, but there is still nothing concrete. I now want to concentrate more on me and the next Tour de France. I still enjoy cycling and would definitely go with that beautiful sport. This after consultation with my family."

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