Spain’s sports minister neutral on Alberto Contador case

Jaime Lissavetzky, Spain's top sports minister, says he remains neutral in the alleged doping case of Alberto Contador.

Jaime Lissavetzky, Spain’s top sports minister, remains neutral in the alleged doping case of Alberto Contador.

Lissavetzky also defended Spain’s track record on doping, saying the country is not a haven for dopers.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s taking so long to reach a decision,” he said in an interview with the Basque newspaper DEIA. “According to the first official statement from the UCI, and there hasn’t been another one, they have opened a scientific investigation on Contador. It’s not a doping case. If at the end of the investigation, they propose a sanction, then we’ll have a presumed doping case, right now it’s in limbo. It’s bad for the cyclist, for cycling and for Spanish sport.”

Lissavetzky, who’s been Spain’s sports minister since 2006, remained neutral on Contador’s argument that his positive came from eating contaminated Spanish beef.

“I am on the executive committee at WADA. My wish is to have everything clear, but I am not going to give my opinion,” he said. “The study will determine if the clenbuterol in his system can be justified by food contamination.”

Lissavetzky also Ä‘efended Spain’s track record in the fight against doping and suggested that a recent comment from Pat McQuaid that Spain was a haven for dopers was not fair.

“There are sports that demand an agonizing effort and those are the ones that tend to have more doping cases,” he said. “We all applaud when they present a Tour with I don’t know how many climbs, we all want the Angliru in the Vuelta. We all know all know that these are hard to climb. The biggest number of positives come from disciplines that require the hardest effort. Cycling is among those. In the past few years, there have been 10 Italians sanctioned compared to 11 Spanish. We have come a long way. We have an anti-doping law, we
promote zero tolerance, we have increased our budgets for labs.”