Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contador has strong Spanish support at Saxo Bank

Defending champion Alberto Contador will have his usual Spanish alliances around him when he takes his place in next month's Tour de France in controversial circumstances.

The three-time Tour de France champion will be there when the three-week race starts on July 2nd despite having a doping hearing hanging around his neck.

Contador tested positive for clenbuterol during the final rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, but was then cleared by the Spanish cycling federation only for the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal.

The Spaniard has to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but his hearing has been delayed until August, meaning he is free to race the 2011 Tour de France even knowing a ban would annul all his results since he failed the initial test. Those following the Tour de France best odds will have mixed feelings about this to say the least.

Contador will be the main man for Saxo Bank in the race and he has his close friend Benjamin Noval and also the climbing excellence of Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro among his team-mates as he goes for a fourth Tour de France title. Anyone looking at the Tour de France promotions certainly won't be able to rule him out.

Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis has stated they have picked an "exceptionally strong team" that can aid Contador throughout the three-week race.

He added: "It is no secret that we are in the race to win it, so our job has been to identify the rider group that will be able to give Alberto the best possible support through the three weeks."

One of Contador's main rivals for the Tour de France title will be Andy Schleck and Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard has stated the Luxembourg rider impresses him as he prepares for the race.

Schleck struggled at the Tour de Suiss but ultimately won the best climber green jersey and Nygaard stated he saw some "very good" numbers for his team's lead rider.

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