Alberto Contador to skip presentation
PARIS -- Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will not attend the 2011 race's presentation next week after being suspended by the UCI for a positive doping test.
Contador's spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told Thursday's edition of L'Equipe newspaper that the Spanish rider won't be in Paris because of an ongoing doping investigation.
"We are still waiting for the UCI's verdict," said Vidarte. "We always hoped that the decision would be made before the Tour presentation. Alberto wants his innocence to be proved by the UCI. If they don't make a decision by Tuesday, I can't imagine Alberto going to Paris."
Contador has been provisionally suspended after a small amount of the banned drug clenbuterol was discovered in one of his samples from this year's Tour by a laboratory in Cologne, Germany.
Contador claimed that the positive test was caused by "food contamination" and denied speculation that he also engaged in blood transfusions during the race.
Olivier Rabin, the lead scientist at the World Anti-Doping Agency, said Wednesday that results from tests showing abnormally high levels of plastic residues in Contador's urine could also be used as part of the doping case against the Spaniard. The investigation is expected to take a long time.
Scientists say high amounts of plastic residue in the urine can be a sign that a person received a blood transfusion, which is banned under WADA rules.
"The Tour presentation is not his priority today," Vidarte said. "He prefers to miss out on the official presentation and be at the start of the 2011 Tour next July."
Vidarte added that Contador's presence in Paris would "focus the attention of the media and this may even harm the Tour presentation itself."
Contador will lose his Tour de France title if he is convicted of doping. He also risks a two-year suspension.
A total of 28 teams will be represented by some 40 riders, including Tour runner-up Andy Schleck, Giro winner Ivan Basso and star sprinter Mark Cavendish, at the race presentation in Paris.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press