Monday, April 21, 2008

Contador Eyes Dauphine Start

Spain's 2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is to reappear in the Criterium du Dauphine on June 8 he announced on Monday.

The 25-year-old, who has been controversially barred from this year's Tour de France because his Astana team were not invited by the organisers, has been out of action since winning the Tour of the Basque Country on April 12.

Contador, who took a week's rest after his victory, explained that while he had resumed training he has been taking antibiotics for the toothache that plagued him during the Tout of the Basque Country.

Tour de France organiser ASO ruled in February that the Astana team would be barred from competing in this year's race as a result of doping scandals over the past two years by the team of which Contador was not then a part of.

However, Contador had received support from International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid.

"If Contador decides to take legal action in Spain or internationally myself and the UCI will give evidence in his favor and I will be a witness," McQuaid told the daily El Mundo on March 14.

"I know Contador and the people around him and I know that he is a clean and honest rider," added McQuaid of the rider who has had to fend off questions regarding his alleged links to Spanish blood-doping probe Operation Puerto.

The UCI president had already slammed the ASO's decision, stating he "would do everything" he could to ensure Contador was at the starting line.

Contador has however indicated that he intends to take no legal action, saying he wants to concentrate on the Olympics and Tour of Spain.

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