MADRID (AFP) — Two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador described Lance Armstrong’s televised doping confession as a bleak day for cycling, but insisted the battered and bruised sport can enjoy a drug-free future.
Contador, who won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009 before being stripped of his 2010 victory and suspended after failing a dope test, says he thinks the American’s mea culpa can close the door on cycling’s depressing recent history.
“It’s true that his admissions damaged the image of cycling, but I see good things coming from this. Perhaps it’ll allow us to close the door once and for all on this chapter and concentrate on the future,” Contador told marca.com.
“We have to forget about the previous decade and look forward to what tomorrow holds.”
Contador returned to action last August and won the Vuelta a España. He and his Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team will kick off their 2013 season on Monday at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
Contador said that nothing in Armstrong’s confessions, aired over two nights in a lengthy interview with TV host Oprah Winfrey, surprised him.
“It’s something that’s been talked about for a long time already and it needed to be got out of the way. The revelations came as no surprise to anyone,” he said.
The 30-year-old Contador lost his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia titles after testing positive for traces of clenbuterol in 2010, which he insists came from a contaminated steak.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Miguel Indurain, a five-time Tour champion, also weighed in on Armstrong’s admission that he doped his way to seven Tour triumphs, saying it had done serious damage to the sport.
“It’s bad for everyone — riders, organizers, teams — especially at a time when we are trying to correct the mistakes and look ahead,” said Indurain.
Indurain also said he believes that the scandal shows that drug testing in cycling is not effective as it should be.
“It shows how imperfect the testing is and that we need to keep working on it,” he said.