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Contador aiming for Vuelta, does not appeal CAS verdict

Spaniard aiming for mid-August return

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, serving a two-year ban for doping, is hoping to compete in this year’s Vuelta a España and world championships, he said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

“I want to be in the biggest races. La Vuelta (which begins on August 18) will be the main one at the end of the season, then the world championships,” said Contador. “I want to be there.”

Contador’s ban comes to an end on August 6 and he said that he had not asked for the suspension imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be overturned because the deadline for submissions had passed.

“My lawyers explained to me that they didn’t see much point in pursuing the case,” he said, adding that he had been told that the chances of successfully appealing the ban were “minimal”.

Contador said after the February 6 ruling that he had “lost confidence in sporting justice” and called again for a revision of the norms for doping products, in particular the anabolic steroid clenbuterol, because they were “obsolete.”

The rider blamed his positive test on a contaminated steak that he ate during the 2010 Tour de France, one of three editions of the race that he won. He was stripped of the 2010 Tour victory and the ban means he will not be able to compete at this year’s Olympics.

On Monday, the UCI announced that Saxo Bank, the team for which Contador rode in 2011 and early 2012 — and with which he is expected to return in August — would retain its WorldTour license. The Spaniard was responsible for 68 percent of the team’s WorldTour points in 2011, points that were negated upon the introduction of Contador’s sanction, but the federation’s License Commission ruled that the circumstances of the case did not require a demotion of the team. That ruling paves the way for Contador to race the Vuelta if he returns to Saxo Bank following his suspension.