Must Reads: Contador would skip the Tour, Goss supports TV rights

With Saxo's WorldTour future in doubt, Spaniard says he'll skip the Tour if he doesn't have time to prepare

Contador worried about the Tour —

Alberto Contador says he’s worried about returning to the Tour de France yet again.

The Spanish star vowed this week to not race the Tour if Saxo-Tinkoff is not invited in time, should the team fail to secure a ProTeam license that would lock in its place in the season’s major races.

Saxo is on the bubble for the final of 18 licenses for 2013 and if it misses out, Contador and company will have to rely on wildcard entries into the major races.

Speaking to France 2 television, Contador hinted he would skip the Tour if an invitation was not offered with enough time to prepare.

“If they do not tell us until two months before the Tour, I believe I wouldn’t go,” Contador said. “I need time to prepare, because if I go, I go to win. If I do not have enough time to prepare, with my teammates, I believe I wouldn’t go.”

It’s not the first time Contador has faced uncertainty about his racing calendar in July. He missed the Tour in 2006 (Operación Puerto), 2008 (Astana problems) and 2012 (clenbuterol ban) and could be racing elsewhere yet again in 2013.

Last year, ASO delivered the final four Tour invitations in early April, early enough to meet Contador’s standards.

The Spaniard left no doubt that he wanted to return to the Tour, especially after his 2010 victory was disqualified in his controversial clenbuterol case and he missed racing this year after sitting out his ban.

“I would like to go, it’s the most important race,” Contador said. “This year I wasn’t there and I want to be back next year. To prepare myself, I have to have the guarantee that my team will be there.”

Contador also reiterated his innocence in the clenbuterol doping case dating back to the 2010 Tour. He was later served a backdated racing ban and stripped of his results from July 2010 to early 2012.

“I can say it again very plainly, all the races I have won, I have won clean, following the rules,” he said. “To have fought so hard and hear that the 2010 Tour no longer belongs to me seems to me something unfair.”

Contador also clarified his comments from last month’s Tour presentation in Paris when he was quoted in support of Lance Armstrong, who has seen his seven Tour titles stripped away.

“My words were misinterpreted,” he said. “I was being ironic, saying that the only thing that was missing is that they sacrifice him. If Lance has been judged and is considered guilty, it’s obvious that he should be sanctioned… Everyone knows that my relation with Armstrong was bad, above all in the 2009 Tour, but I am not a spiteful person.”

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Goss says sharing TV rights will help secure cycling’s future

Australian sprinter Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) says teams deserve to receive a chunk of the money that comes from television rights earned from broadcasting cycling’s major races.

Speaking at a sponsor’s function in Australia, Goss said the high price tag that comes with sponsoring a bike team could be reduced if TV rights were spread among teams.

“There’s not that many companies that want to give up that kind of money,” he says. “You’ve got 20 teams asking $10 million to $20 million a year. There are not many teams that do more than a few years — then eventually they run dry.

“If you had that TV rights thing there you could guarantee a certain amount. Then you need a smaller sponsor, which is probably easier to find, and then everyone has a bit more security in their jobs.”

Races now receive TV rights for races they organize and there are many who believe that teams and riders deserve a cut of the pie. Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala is promoting talks of a parallel racing league.

Goss said he’s hoping to win a stage in next year’s Tour de France after coming close in this year’s edition. Despite winning a stage at the Giro d’Italia, Goss still wants a Tour win for his new sponsor.

“Everyone wants to win that one,” he said. “If I could win something, it’s a Tour stage. I’ve definitely still got that… maybe next year’s the lucky year.”

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