Contador eligible to race as suspension comes to an end
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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Contador eligible to race as suspension comes to an end

by Shane Stokes at 8:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Eneco Tour
 
Spaniard to return to competition tomorrow in Eneco Tour

Alberto ContadorDouble Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is officially free to compete once again, with his suspension expiring at midnight last night, August 4th.

The Spaniard is now counting down the hours until he officially returns to racing, with tomorrow’s Eneco Tour serving as his first event since the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca on February fifth. He has therefore been out of competition for six months, and has trained hard in that time to be in the best possible shape for his return.

Contador’s big goal is to win the Vuelta a España, which starts in thirteen days time. Although the Eneco Tour is his first race in half a year and the course doesn't suit his characteristics, he will want to test himself and perform well.

The WorldTour event begins with a 203.9 kilometre race from Waalwijk to Middelburg, and runs for seven days. Next Saturday features a 17.4 kilometre individual time trial, which will likely see him ride all out for his best possible time.

“The Eneco Tour will be a very special race for me for several reasons. Firstly, it will be my return to competition, so I’m excited because any rider likes to compete,” he said in a statement last month. “Secondly, I am very excited to come back here because the race is raced in two countries where cycling culture is deep-rooted and where cycling moves the people more than anywhere else. I’ve always felt at home here.

“The route may not be the most favourable for me, but my ultimate goal here is to retake the pace of competition to meet the objectives at the end of the season,” he said.

Contador will wear the colours of Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank, having signed up again to the team. He originally inked a deal with Bjarne Riis’ squad well in advance of the 2011 season, but was then announced as having tested positive for Clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France.

He fought those charges, initially being cleared by the Spanish cycling federation RFEC, and continuing to race. He won the Giro d’Italia and several other events, but those results plus the 2010 Tour victory were ultimately stripped by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled on the case on February 6th.

It also handed him a two year, partially-backdated ban, which ended at midnight last night. The 29 year old is now back, has a three and a half year contract with Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank, and is ready to push towards the second Vuelta victory of his career.

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