Beleaguered Tour de France champion Alberto Contador on Monday “categorically denied” reports by a Spanish magazine that links him to Javier Fernández Alba, a Madrid-based trainer and manager reportedly under investigation by authorities for trafficking of doping products.
The Spanish monthly magazine Interviú – known for its racy photographs and in-depth reporting — published in its latest issue a story that allegedly links Contador to Alba and goes so far as to call Alba “Contador’s manager, discoverer and trainer.”
On Monday, Contador shot back by denying links to Alba, who is also the president of the Madrid chapter of the Spanish cycling federation.
“I have never had a relation with this gentleman,” Contador said in a statement Monday. “And I don’t even know where this center is that he directs.”
The story in Interviú cites police reports in Asturias that put Alba at center of a new doping investigation following a positive doping test from one of Alba’s clients in the Spanish national master’s championship this summer.
The magazine also cited unnamed sources that Alba works as a trainer for up to 200 athletes and charges between “200 and 500 euros” for his services at the gym in the outskirts of Madrid called SPE (Salus per Exercitacione) where Alba allegedly operates.
The magazine also alleges that it was Alba who recommended Contador to his first amateur team and said that he was an early manager and trainer for the three-time Tour de France champion.
Contador — who is fending off doping allegations from this summer’s Tour de France — said he’s never worked with Alba.
“Alberto Contador has never had Fernández Alba as a manager much less as a trainer, and he’s never been to the SPE center in Majadahonda,” a statement read. “When Contador signed up with the Velo Club Portillo, Fernández Alba had already left the club and his relationship with him was nothing more than through the Madrid chapter of the national federation, of which he was the technical director.”
Alba backed up Contador’s claims that the two have never worked together. In a statement posted on the Madrid cycling federation’s web page, he strongly denied the allegations of Interviú’s story and confirmed that he never worked with Contador.
“My professional activity has never consisted of prescribing, supplying, selling, etc., medicines to any athlete,” he wrote. “I am a long-time teacher and my job is to prepare (athletes) for physical training.”
He also denied that he’s being investigated by any court or legal authority in Spain and vowed to take legal action against the magazine for what he described as a “distorted and manipulated” report.
Contador recently returned from a two-week training camp with his new Saxo Bank teammates in Fuerteventura and is awaiting the decision about his fate, now in the hands of a four-member panel of the Spanish cycling federation.