Andy Schleck – the man who just might be proclaimed winner of the Tour de France – says he believes Alberto Contador and his claims that his positive test from clenbeturol came from eating contaminated meat.
Schleck, second to Contador by 39 seconds, told the Spanish daily Marca that he’s swapped messages with Contador and said he hopes the Spanish rider is able to clear his name.
“I have wished him luck and I have told him I hope he can demonstrate his innocence,” Schleck told Marca. “I believe in his innocence and hope it’s like that. I hope that Alberto is innocent and he can demonstrate it. I am not a doctor or a specialist … but I don’t believe he did anything wrong.”
Echoing comments to VeloNews during last month’s Tour de France presentation, Schleck said he would not like to be named winner of the 2010 Tour if Contador is handed a racing ban and stripped of his title.
“I don’t want to win via a desk, I want to win arriving in Paris with the yellow jersey over my shoulders,” he continued. “I don’t know what will happen, but I am second.”
Schleck also said that the financial support for his new team is coming from a wealthy individual from Luxembourg who is backing the Schleck brothers to create an elite team capable of delivering the Tour de France victory.
“It’s a person from Luxembourg, a millionaire who put down the money to get it started and who’s made a very strong bet for cycling,” he continued. “We have small sponsors, but the title sponsor still isn’t decided. The team is beginning similar to how Garmin or High Road from a few years ago.”
Schleck said the Tour will be his top objective next season, but also said the month of April will be equally important, with the Tour of the Basque Country and Liege-Bastogne-Liege as top goals in the spring.
Schleck also said he has some contact with former boss Bjarne Riis, but said there was “another way to punish us” than being ejected from the Vuelta a Espana, along with Stuart O’Grady, for arriving late back to the team hotel after allegedly having a few beers after a stage.
He also criticized calls by some anti-doping officers to have surprise tests during the middle of the night.
“That’s ridiculous, it’s too much,” he said. “It’s only from midnight to 6 in the morning that they cannot come. I don’t want anyone waking me up in the middle of the night.”