Spanish government supports Contador, Puerto

Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky

Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky (Image credit: Shane Stokes)

Jaime Lissavetzky, Spanish Secretary of State for Sport, said he tried to stop the Tour de France organisers from barring Alberto Contador from the Tour de France, Marca reported Friday. Lissavetzky was working with Vuelta director Victor Cordero, to ensure Contador could defend his 2007 title, but the Tour organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), announced Wednesday that Astana was not invited.

Lissavetzky revealed that the decision was contrary to messages he had been receiving from the ASO. "They spoke of the 'new cycling', so I wonder why they have made the decision not to invite Contador's team. They said that the problem is not the rider, but the team, and what I say in these cases is that you must have very clear and transparent rules for cycling going forward," he explained.

"My relationship with the Tour have always been wonderful, but we need to clarify what the rules are. If Contador can ride the Vuelta and not the Tour, then something is amiss. If the UCI thinks the team is good but the Tour does not, then something is wrong," he continued. "As Secretary of State, any Spanish athlete has my support and Alberto Contador has it because he has won the Tour in good stead." he added.

Lissavetzky also added his backing to the re-opening of the Operación Puerto case by the Spanish courts, even if it is limited to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and his associates' handling of the blood bags found in the Madrid clinic.

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