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Bjarne Riis: ‘No reason not to believe Contador,’ but situation is troubling for the new team

Bjarne Riis says he has no reason not to believe Alberto Contador on his positive doping explanation, but he concedes the situation is troubling for his new team

Saxo Bank team director Bjarne Riis said Wednesday he still believed in the innocence of new team recruit Alberto Contador despite his positive test for a banned substance.

“I’ve just met Alberto Contador and I have no reason not to believe in him,” Riis told Danish television channel DR.

Riis, who has confessed to doping when he won the 1996 Tour de France, said he was worried by the development of this affair which he hoped would not “finish in a political game.”

“I really hope it won’t be the case because it would be incredibly sad for all parties,” said Riis, who admitted that the affair was posing problems for him putting together his team for the 2011 season.

“I’ve nearly finishing putting my team together and I’m still in the process of signing the final (riders),” he said, adding that the situation remained “still very open” and depended notably on the outcome of the Contador affair.

Contador has been provisionally suspended by the (UCI) after a positive test for clenbuterol, a banned substance, during this year’s Tour de France race, which he won for the third time.

The 27-year-old Astana rider, who has signed a two-year deal with Saxo Bank for the 2011 season, insists he is the victim of contaminated meat brought in from Spain.