Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) is confident that he will be cleared of wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport when it deliberates on his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France later this month.
The Spanish Cycling Federation cleared Contador in February, but both the UCI and WADA have appealed the matter to CAS, and the hearings will be held from November 21-24. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Contador said that he is approaching the hearing “with a lot of calmness and a lot of confidence.”
“When you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear,” he insisted. “I’m fighting as a matter of pride, and it’s unthinkable to accept any kind of sanction.”
Even though his future continues to hang in the balance, Contador is already planning his 2012 campaign. After failing in his bid to land a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double this year, he is unlikely to ride the Italian race as he looks to keep his powder dry for July.
“I don’t think so, not this year,” Contador admitted, and he also stressed that aiming for the Ardennes Classics would be “complicated.”
The only certainty on Contador’s pre-Tour de France calendar appears to be Tirreno-Adriatico, although he is weighing up the possibility of beginning his season considerably earlier than usual in Argentina, at the Tour de San Luis in January.
“I could start from the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, even if I don’t like racing in January, because I’m afraid of coming into form too soon,” he said. “I certainly want to be at Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s a race that I don’t know and it motivates me a lot in a period when I normally reach a good level of form. As for the rest, we’ll see.”
With the Olympic Games getting underway just a week after the end of the Tour de France, Contador is hopeful of making it to London, where he believes he can make an impact in the time trial.
“I’d like to be there, but there are lots of people who want to be there,” he said. “I think I can give a great showing in the time trial, which comes after the Tour.”
While Contador also hinted that he would consider riding the time trial at the world championships in Valkenburg, he admitted that he was concerned by the increasing demands posed by modern cycling’s lengthy season.
“The calendar is already over-saturated,” he said. “You don’t just count racing days, but also the days at training camps to get to the top of your condition. They’re very, very hard days. In 2011, I did 62 days of racing, but out of the first 200 days of the year, I spent 140 away from home.”
While the CAS hearing dominates Contador’s professional agenda at the end of November, the month begins with an important date in his personal life as he marries long-time girlfriend Macarena Pescador in his hometown of Pinto on Saturday. After a short honeymoon in Rome, the Spaniard will enjoyed a relaxed spell at home before beginning his preparations for next year.
“I like to go hunting, walking in the fields,” he said. “Then I’ll do preparation in the gym and from the end of November, I’ll start getting serious on the bike. I’ll stay in Pinto, although if it gets too cold, I’ll go to the coast.”
In the midst of a period of considerable turbulence, Contador explained that he is pleased to have the chance to spend some time among friends in Pinto.
“I consider myself happy with what I’ve got,” he said. “I try to put aside things that would bother me: falseness, lack of understanding, vested interest friendships. In my group, this doesn’t happen. We’re a very united family, four brothers, each one with his own life, but in constant contact. My friends are the same as I’ve had all my life, and for them it’s the same if I win or lose. Cycling is what we talk about the least.”
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