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Contador: ‘I have never doped'
By Andrew Hood
VeloNews European correspondent
Filed: August 10, 2007

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador publicly declared he's a clean rider in the face of increasing suspicions about his alleged links to the Operación Puerto blood-doping ring.

Contador has launched an effort to protect his reputation.

photo: Agence France Presse - 2007

On Friday, Contador took the extraordinary step of making a public statement to try to counter growing media antagonism in the wake of his impressive Tour victory. Contador declined to take questions from reporters.

"I have never doped and I have never participated in an act of doping," said Contador, reading from his prepared statement Friday. "I won the Tour clean. I cannot understand the attacks against me by people that don't even know me. My commitment is absolute and I will always be ready to collaborate in the fight against doping."

Contador was joined by Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel, Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky and members of his family. Earlier in the day, Contador met with Lissavetzky in a closed-door session.

Contador said he has supported efforts by the UCI and by Spanish authorities to crack down on alleged doping practices. He also said he would give a DNA sample if asked to do so by proper authorities.

Contador, 24, has come under fire from the media and other critics who have questioned his alleged links to the Puerto scandal.

Last year, Contador was among nine riders from four teams who were kicked out ahead of the start of the 2006 Tour. His name was later cleared following closer review of evidence and even Fuentes himself said on Spanish radio he never worked with Contador.

That hasn't quieted all the critics, however. German anti-doping activist Werner Franke has reportedly provided investigators at the World Anti-Doping Agency with documents detailing the rider's work with the notorious doctor.

"The name of this Mr. Contador appears on several occasions on the court and police documents," Franke told German television station ZDF on July 30. "All of this has been simply concealed and hidden under the carpet while the name Contador was erased from the list of suspicious riders."

Organizers of the Vattenfall one-day German classic on Aug. 19 said they didn't want Contador to race because of new questions about links to controversial Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.


Editor's note: What follows is a translated version of the statement from Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, which was originally delivered in Spanish.
 
Dear friends, amateurs who have cheered me from grandstands or in front of the TV screen, communication media, sponsors, cycling event organizers and authorities: The events that occurred during the Tour have made me meditate.

All this is new to me. While I was too focused during the race and in the role that I was supposed to play for my team, I did not realize other things, I was not aware of the real importance of winning this race, even though I had seen it on the TV.

I only came to realize this when the race had finished: police protection, crowds of people surrounding me, the phone endlessly ringing, people asking for autographs, and press, lots of press -- for the good and for the bad.

Three years ago, when I was going to debut in the Tour, a painful experience due to an illness hampered the start, this almost cost me my life and my professional career.

On top of my health frustration, being involved in a doping scandal which provoked my team to exclude me from the Tour of 2006 was not any less frustrating. It was a situation of impotence, sadness and disillusion that changed my vision of the sport, the sport which I am giving the best years of my life, the sport in which, as mentioned in the letter I wrote last year, I have always practiced cleanly, with zeal, hard work, and a great deal of illusion.

Today, from my position as the winner of the 2007 Tour, the most important race of the world, the race that any cyclist dreams of winning, a race that I won with effort and honesty, I ask you to continue believing in bicycling and in me.

And because I have won this race in a clean way and because I have greatly enjoyed the presence of the fans, I will promise you that you will continue enjoying my participation since my goal, other than winning the race, is to make bicycling an attractive and admired sport by all.

That is why, I find it impossible to comprehend the attacks against me, doubts of my honesty as a sportsman, from people that don't really know me, but who somehow feel capable of judging and evaluating my condition on a TV screen, diagnosing  the nature of physical capacities and my moral tendencies. Some of them even claim to be doctors. The doctors that I know, who made it possible for me to be here after treating my illness, would not talk in public about their patients, not even to mention the patients of other doctors.

I have never committed an act of doping, I have never participated in an act of doping and those who know me know what I think about it.

My attitiude against doping is absolute and you would always find me willing to collaborate; that's why I have met, in every moment, the standard in bicycling; that's why, year after year I send the UCI  the questionnaires of location for being controlled at any moment that this sport's authorities consider is necessary; that's why I have passed surprise and programmed exams, in my own house and in competitions, during seasons of rest, blood and urine tests, which logically are way more that what any other participant of the race has to take.

I count with the full support of the UCI, (Consejo Superior de Deportes), the Spanish federation of bicycling and State Secretary of Sports, Jaime Lissavetzky. The place of celebration of this act endorses my statement.

Furthermore, I am willing to take part in as many studies as needed for the authorities concerning doping, including my DNA.

I don't know if there's anything left to do to be considered as a just winner of the race; but if after this appearance, in which I express my absolute collaboration, the defamatory information and attacks still persists, which affect my family, my team, sponsors and peers, I would defer to the legal system and any relevant rule of law.

If the immeasurable damages towards me are compensated economically, part of it would go towards the fight against doping.

This is the contribution that Alberto Contador Velasco, winner of the Tour 2007, provides to the credibility and renaissance of the new cycling, which would not be possible without the media, authorities, laws and amateurs.

Thank you to everybody

Madrid, August 10th, 2007