Bjarne Riis confirmed Wednesday that, despite facing doping allegations, Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will attend a training camp next week with Saxo Bank-Sungard .
Contador is suspended from racing, but is still allowed to meet and train with his new teammates as he awaits a decision on his case, now in the hands of the Spanish cycling federation. The UCI confirmed the decision last week, opening the door for Contador to travel to the Canary Islands to meet with Riis and his new teammates.
“I think it is important that we all remember that Alberto is not guilty until a judgment is made that indicates something otherwise. This has been the message from the UCI, and I think we should all respect that,” Riis said in a team statement Wednesday. “We have also met with the UCI, and they have assured us that there are no problems in taking Alberto to our team-building camp.”
The team will be at the Playitas resort for two weeks on the Spanish island of Fuerteventura to prepare the base for the upcoming 2011 season.
The training camp will be the first major meeting of Riis’s squad following the departure of some of the team’s most important riders, including the Schleck brothers, Stuart O’Grady, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt and Matti Breschel.
It’s also the first chance for new arrivals Contador and others, such as Spanish sidekicks Benjamin Noval, Dani Navarro and Jesus Hernández, to meet with their new teammates and staff.
“It’s an incredibly important camp for the team and our entire organization,” Riis continued. “It is the first time that we all get together and a great chance to get to know each other. This is where we create the complete foundation for our organization. Therefore, we will continue to work with our team building at Playitas.”
The squad also finalized its 2011 roster with the arrival this week of Italian veteran Matteo Tosatto, closing out the team with 25 riders for next year.
Saxo Bank-Sungard for 2011
- Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina)
- Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Argentina)
- Richie Porte (Australia)
- David Tanner (Australia)
- Baden Cooke (Australia)
- Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
- Michael Mørkøv (Denmark)
- Kasper Klostergaard (Denmark)
- Mads Christensen (Denmark)
- Brian Vandborg (Denmark)
- André Steensen (Denmark)
- Jonas Aaen (Denmark)
- Chris Anker Sørensen (Denmark)
- Nicki Sørensen (Denmark)
- Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain)
- Matteo Tosatto (Italy)
- Manuele Boaro (Italy)
- Laurent Didier (Luxembourg)
- Marycz Jaroslaw (Poland)
- Alberto Contador (Spain)
- Benjamin Noval (Spain)
- Daniel Navarro (Spain)
- Jesus Hernandez (Spain)
- Gustav Larsson (Sweden)
- Volodimir Gustov (Ukraine)
Editor’s Note: Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood’s covered every Tour since 1996 and has been VeloNews’ European correspondent since 2002. He lives in Leon, Spain, when he’s not chasing bike races.