The major tours will wait on the sidelines to see how the Alberto Contador doping case plays out.
Public comments from leaders of the “big three” have been guarded, especially in light of possible appeals from the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“Unfortunately, we are sentenced to await the final epilogue of the Contador case,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP ahead of the start of the Tour of Oman on Wednesday. “No one knows if this is the end or just the start of the umpteenth episode of a soap opera. We’ll wait to see if WADA and the UCI will appeal.”
Contador spelled out his racing plans for the 2011 season, putting his sights on a run at the Giro d’Italia in May. Contador seemed to have taken a cautious view on the Tour and didn’t want to publicly commit to the French tour with his case still open to appeal.
Giro d’Italia officials were equally mum. A spokesman for the Giro told VeloNews on Wednesday that “all we can do is wait to see if there is an appeal.”
Vuelta a España officials expressed cautious optimism that Spain’s top cycling star might be able to line up for the season’s final grand tour.
“It’s great news, but it’s not a closed case. What they ought to do is take a final decision as quickly as possible for the good of everyone,” Guillen told Marca. “I would love to see Alberto in the Vuelta, if his situation permitted it, and as of (Tuesday), it does.”