Alberto Contador gave a press conference this morning from the Saxo Bank team training camp. Bjarne Riis affirmed that he will continue to support the Spanish star, whom he hired at great expense at the end of last season. Hey Bjarne, how's that working out for you? The press conference came after the Spanish Federation announced its intention to ban Contador from cycling for one year, after he tested positive at the 2010 Tour de France.
During the Friday press conference, Contador rather predictably proclaimed his innocence. "I have never doped," he said. "I consider myself a shining example. The only mistake I made was to eat meat without having it analyzed." Want ads: Cycling team seeks Science Person to test meat before dinner. Call Bjarne for immediate consideration. Contador also asserted that "all the scientists" believe he's innocent. Paging Michael Ashenden, you have a call on line 1? Also, Don Catlin, please report to the white courtesy phone. All, that's a big number Señor Contador. "I feel like a victim and I will not give up until they modify the rules and the false positive is overturned," Contador promised. Translation: We can expect a long, drawn out appeal process.
In the meantime, the UCI yesterday felt obligated to clarify the current status of the Contador case. Apparently, we are all confused. According to the UCI press release, the announcement by the Spanish Federation on Wednesday is only "an interim decision" and "this information cannot in any way be considered as an anticipation of the definitive decision in the case." Well alrighty then.
The Spanish Federation has forwarded "one document" to the UCI, but it seems that this document represents only the first step in the process. It's not clear how many more steps there are, or what the exact process may be. Is it any wonder we're confused? The press release ends on a chiding note. Stop with the idle speculation Media People! Inappropriate Media People! "Considering the major media interest in the case, the UCI regrets the inappropriate speculation that has characterised the proceedings and expresses its desire that this affair be drawn to a conclusion in an orderly fashion." Consider us thoroughly chastized. Perhaps the UCI could send smoke signals when the decision reaches its orderly conclusion?
Gav's note: I have lifted the Contador quotes from the live updates by @saddleblaze. If a full English text emerges later, I'll correct as necessary. Sadly, I missed watching this thing live.