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Alberto Contador ‘happy and relieved’ by RFEC doping ruling

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Feb. 15, 2011
  • Updated Feb. 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM EDT

Alberto Contador says he’s “happy and relieved” about the dramatic reversal from the Spanish cycling federation to clear him from doping charges.

Contador’s first reactions following Tuesday afternoon’s decision to absolve him came on the Saxo Bank-Sungard website, where a brief statement was posted in the wake of the Spanish cycling federation’s decision.

“First of all, I’m relieved and obviously happy about this ruling,” Contador said on the site. “It has been some very stressful months for me, but throughout the case I have been totally available for all inquiries in relation to my case, and all the way through I have spoken in accordance with the truth. To both the team and the authorities I have explained that I never cheated or deliberately took a banned substance.”

Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis also offered his take on the ruling and cautioned that he expects an appeal from either the World Anti-Doping Agency or the UCI.

“This decision is indeed proof that the relevant authorities do not find grounds for believing, that Alberto Contador has committed any intentional doping offence, which is absolutely vital for us. So I’m obviously happy on behalf of Alberto and the team. We take note of this decision and fully respect it, but we’re also sensitive to the fact that the parties of this case still have the right to appeal this decision,” said Riis, adding: “I really want to take this opportunity to emphasize again that nothing in our values has changed. We’re still a team that strongly condemn all kind of cheating, including doping. But we will at all times also be a fair team. It is of great importance, that we don’t equate conscious cheating and an accidental intake of a banned substance.”

Contador signed a multi-milllion-euro contract with Riis just days before news broke that he tested positive for clenbuterol during a rest-day control at the 2010 Tour de France.

Riis said he supports Contador so long as it’s shown that it’s a case of “accidental intake” of clenbuterol.

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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