Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) is trying to put on a brave face as his fate is finally set to be decided as the Court of Arbitration for Sport seems finally ready to render a ruling in his long-running clenbuterol case.
CAS confirmed it will release its decision February 6 in a case that dates back to June, 2010. Contador, meanwhile, says it hasn’t been easy trying to deal with the uncertainty of his future while trying to remain active in the peloton.
Speaking to the Spanish daily ABC, Contador admitted he wants the story to end, ideally with him being absolved of any allegations of wrongdoing.
“I try to stay busy all day, even though sometimes that’s difficult,” Contador told ABC. “I enjoy racing the bike and competing, and that helps, but sometimes things get into your head, and you ask yourself how you can be in this situation, and sometimes it’s hard to understand.”
Contador is facing up to a two-year ban and disqualification of the 2010 Tour de France title after anti-doping controllers found traces of the banned substance clenbuterol in his system.
Contador and his legal team argue that the drug entered his system after eating contaminated steaks brought to France from Spain. WADA and UCI lawyers, however, argued that Contador must serve a ban after testing positive.
Contador admitted that “he couldn’t sleep” in the weeks and months following the release of the story in the fall of 2010, but he said with the help of family and friends, he’s been able to keep his mind focused on racing.
“My sporting life hasn’t had much tranquility since I had my accident in 2004 (a brain aneurism). I made (myself) see life from a different perspective and that helps me stay focused,” he said. “You go to see teammates, friends, you’re always with someone during the day. If you’re home alone doing nothing, you start to think, and everything goes to your head. Maybe I have my days busier than I would like. At the beginning, I would wake up at 6:30 in the morning and got to sleep at 1:30 a.m., and I couldn’t sleep.”
After he was cleared by the Spanish cycling federation in February last year, he went on to win the overall titles at the tours of Murcia and Catalunya as well as the Giro d’Italia.
After not having raced since last year’s Tour de France, Contador won two stages en route to second overall behind Levi Leipheimer in last week’s Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
Contador, meanwhile, returned to Spain and is planning on racing the opening day of the Mallorca Challenge on Sunday before returning to his home Monday to await the final CAS decision.
If things go badly for him next week at CAS, it could be his last race for a while.