Beleaguered champ Alberto Contador will not attend next week’s Tour de France presentation Tuesday in Paris.
Contador, who is temporarily suspended pending the outcome of a clenbuterol positive during his 2010 Tour victory, said he would not attend the annual route presentation unless his case is resolved in a favorable fashion by the UCI before that.
“He would become the center of attention of the media and that could harm the presentation,” Contador’s spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told L’Equipe. “We are still awaiting a verdict from the UCI. We had always hoped that the decision would be taken before the presentation of the Tour. Alberto desires that his innocence be demonstrated and that it comes from the UCI.”
Tour officials are set to unveil the route of the 2011 Tour during an official presentation ceremony held each October in Paris.
Cycling’s biggest stars and sport directors typically converge on Paris to get their first glimpse of what the route will look like.
Contador’s presence would certainly overwhelm media attention and Vidarte said Contador doesn’t want to appear with his future still uncertain.
Contador could face a two-year ban and be stripped of his Tour de France victory, but the UCI has indicated it is looking for another alternative. So far, cycling’s governing body has only said the case needs further investigation.
Contador is also fending off media reports that suggest plastic residue found in urine samples suggest evidence of blood transfusions.
An official from the World Anti-Doping Agency, however, noted that a new test for plasticizers has not yet been certified, since exposure could come from a variety of sources.
“One cannot be assured 100 percent that it’s evidence of a transfusion,” Olivier Rabin, WADA’s scientific director, told the Spanish wire service EFE. “There are other possible explanations. The presence of plastic residue is nothing more than an indication of possible doping.”
Contador has vehemently denied transfusing his own blood and says the minute traces of clenbuterol found in his system during the Tour came from eating contaminated meat originating in Spain.
However, WADA director general David Howman told reporters that the contaminated food defense won’t fly.
“It’s been raised before, it’s been heard in a couple of cases and rejected,” Howman said a Montreal news conference, according to Reuters. “It’s not unusual.”
“The issue is, can you prove it? It’s a pretty hard thing to prove that is where it (the banned substance) comes from.”