Contador returns at Tour of Algarve

Wed, 16 Feb 13:25:00 2011

Three-times Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has returned to competition just one day after his provisional one-year ban for doping was lifted, taking the start in the Tour of Algarve.

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The 28-year-old had been suspended provisionally since August after testing positive for a small amount of the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol, but the Spanish Cycling Federation on Tuesday lifted the ban.

"Above all, it is a huge satisfaction not just for me but also for the team, the sponsors, and the truth is that I am happy to be here," Contador said.

The Spaniard, who has been the outstanding cyclist of his generation, did not confirm whether we he will take part in the Tour de France in July.

"Now we have to plan the season with the (team) director in the next weeks and we will see what the goals are," he said.

Contador not motivated by revenge

Contador, whose battle to clear his name may not yet be over with cycling's world governing body still to decide whether to appeal, flew to Portugal late on Tuesday to join up with his Saxo Bank team and defend the title he won last year.

"I think everybody can understand that we are happy. For us it is good that he can race," Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis said.

Contador has always denied deliberate wrongdoing, saying the failed test was due to contaminated meat.

Spanish media reported that the RFEC's disciplinary committee reversed their decision because it could not prove intent or negligence on Contador's part.

"I think this whole situation is not good at all for cycling and, in truth, it would have been good for it all not to have happened," Contador added.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won the opening stage of the Tour of Algarve with a perfectly-timed attack in the final kilometre. Contador finished in 28th.


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