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Alberto Contador calls Giro d’Italia 1st major goal of 2011

Alberto Contador calls the Giro d’Italia his first major goal of the season as he waits to learn whether he’ll be able to try for a fourth Tour de France title July 2-24.

Contador tested positive for traces of the banned muscle-building substance clenbuterol during last July’s Tour de France, which he won, but was cleared last month by the Spanish cycling federation who accepted his claim that he ate contaminated meat.

“The Giro d’Italia (May 7-29) is my first big objective,” said Contador, who won the Tour of Murcia on Sunday after taking the victory in the final individual time trial. It is the Saxo Bank rider’s second race of the season after finishing fourth in the Tour of the Algarve last month.

“I’ve seen the (Giro) stages on the internet. It’s tough, really tough. There isn’t one standout stage, there are six! But the Tour de France remains in my plans. If I can, I’ll race it.”

The Spaniard must still wait to see whether the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have the Spanish cycling federation’s judgment overturned.

“I’ve gone through a difficult time. … People said nasty things, stupid things in the media,” he said. “But I have a lot to thank my fans for, without them maybe nothing would have been resolved. They forced me to clear up the situation. I don’t think I can be as I was before, I’ve suffered a lot and now I’m more reserved, I’m more careful.”

The UCI and WADA have until March 15 to decide whether to appeal to CAS.

“I’d like them to carefully read the complete (Spanish cycling federation) file without any preconceived idea and without giving in to pressure,” he said. “I believe in the system and they should believe in it too.”

In the coming months Contador plans to compete in the Volta Ciclista a Catalonia, the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and the Flèche Wallonne before the Giro.

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