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Andy Schleck says he considers Alberto Contador the winner of the 2010 Tour de France and said he would not like to be awarded the yellow jersey if the Spaniard loses his battle to clear his name of doping allegations.
Schleck said Contador deserves time to try to make his case that contaminated meat is the source of traces of clenbuterol that were found in his system during rest-day controls at this year’s Tour.
“I lost the Tour on the road. I wouldn’t want to win like that. I’m second,” Schleck said before Tuesday’s presentation of the 2011 Tour in Paris. “It’s a complicated case. Sometimes people are too quick to judge. We have to see what happens. I hope it is resolved in a good way for Alberto.”
Contador is facing a possible two-year ban and disqualification from the 2010 Tour after traces of clenbuterol were found in anti-doping controls.
Contador strongly denies he doped and even hinted he would leave the sport forever if he’s handed down a ban and stripped of his 2010 Tour crown. The Spaniard did not travel to Paris to attend the annual Tour presentation when some of cycling’s biggest names turn out to get their first glimpse of next year’s route.
As runner-up last year, Schleck was center-stage and everyone wanted to know what the Luxembourg rider thought of the Contador situation.
“I think it’s not easy for Alberto to be here today,” Schleck continued. “I think that everyone should respect the process. We should give him time to make his case.”
Tour officials played down the growing Contador scandal during its flashy, multi-media presentation on Tuesday.
Both ASO president Jean-Etienne Amaury and Tour organizer Christian Prudhomme only had passing comments on the still unsettled Contador case during their opening statements ahead of the official unveiling of the 2011 Tour route.
“I am not going to say everything is fine in cycling. I am not blinded like an ostrich with his head in the sand,” Prudhomme said. “The UCI and WADA have not given their conclusion. Let’s hope it does not take too long. The fight against doping continues. Doping is the enemy and doping is everywhere. It’s not just a problem of cycling or the Tour de France.”