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BARCELONA, Spain (VN) — Leopard Trek sport director Kim Andersen said a possible sanction of Alberto Contador won’t distract the team as it moves toward a run at the 2011 Tour de France.
Andersen told VeloNews on Thursday evening the team won’t comment on the ongoing “caso Contador” despite huge implications the decision would have for the first-year Luxembourg-registered team.
“For the moment, we don’t have any comment,” Andersen told VeloNews. “Nothing is official. We have heard nothing from the UCI. It doesn’t change anything for us at all.”
Andy Schleck, runner-up to Contador in 2010, is poised to become winner by default if Contador is eventually banned and stripped of his Tour de France crown.
Andersen insisted that Schleck and the rest of the team are staying focused on their work and not worrying about what might happen to Contador. Schleck reiterated comments Thursday to a Luxembourg newspaper that he doesn’t want to win the Tour from a desk but rather on the road.
“Andy is not worrying about that now,” Andersen said. “His opinion hasn’t changed (on Contador).”
Andersen said he doesn’t want Contador’s ongoing battle against doping allegations to distract the team going into its debut season.
Contador’s uncertain future will have huge implications for Leopard Trek, even if Andersen doesn’t want to publicly admit it.
If Contador is cleared to race, he would show up to the Tour with a packed Saxo Bank-Sungard team ready to control the dynamics of the race. If Contador is sidelined, everyone would be looking to Leopard Trek to step into that void. That’s not something Andersen wants to speculate on just yet.
“We’ll see who’s at the start line when the race starts in July,” Andersen insisted. “We cannot worry about everyone else. We are focusing on our work.”
Andersen says the team’s mood is buoyant ahead of its first races under its new banner.
The team gathered on Spain’s Mallorca — the same island where Contador will face the media Friday in a press conference — for a two-week training camp which will lay the groundwork for the team’s first races of the 2011 season.
“We had a very nice training camp these days. We had two weeks without rain. Though it’s been cold, the weather on Mallorca has been great to have everyone working together and getting ready to race,” Andersen said. “Everyone is very motivated.”
The Schleck brothers will debut during the Mallorca Challenge in early February and then race at the Ruta del Sol in southern Spain later next month.