Beleaguered Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will make his first public appearance this weekend since his emotional Sept. 30 press conference last month when he denied doping allegations leveled against him.
Contador will watch – not participate in – the Criterium de Oviedo on Saturday in northern Spain to honor retiring rider Chechu Rubiera. Contador had previously clarified reports last week that he was not going to race in the event.
“Alberto Contador does not want to miss this chance to pay tribute to an emblematic rider as Chechu Rubiera, for whom he has always had a great admiration and respect as person,” a press release stated. “Alberto Contador will use this time to personally thank all the great support that Asturian fans have always shown, especially during these last hard weeks.”
Contador has kept a low profile since news broke last month about traces of clenbuterol were detected during the Tour and did not attend the 2011 Tour de France presentation held in Paris last week.
Contador is awaiting a decision by the UCI and WADA on whether he will receive a racing ban. He claims that traces of the banned substance entered his system after eating contaminated steaks from Spain. He faces up to a two-year ban and disqualification of his 2010 Tour crown.
This week, Spanish cycling officials said they still have not received official notification that Contador is temporarily suspended, and said that technically, Contador is free to race.
On Thursday, Contador’s hometown of Pinto made him an honorary “son of the city” in a unanimous declaring signed by 21 members of the city council.