For those who had turned up or tuned in with the hope that Alberto would throw his hands up and admit his guilt, begging us all for forgiveness and a second chance come August, were left disappointed, if not foolish for ever believing something like that could happen in the first place. “My dreams have collapsed and my morale right now is very confused. There hasn’t been one morning when I haven’t asked myself how this happened,” he continued.
“I can’t understand the final verdict,” said Contador, scanning, I would assume, the Spanish dictionary for a translation of the word ‘guilty’. “I’ve gone through everything, spent hours going over things. If there’s anything I can do to prove my innocence I’ll do it. Baring finding the remnants of his scrumptious stake from that ill fated rest day and proving it to be loaded with Clenbuterol that got there via some Spanish farmer, I think he might be out of luck.
Contador went on to thank those who have supported him, an indirect thought of gratitude no doubt to the Spanish Cycling Federation who done everything in their power to clear him of the charges during the initial hearing. He then finished up by confirming that his earlier statement that he would retire from the sport was ill-founded and more likely a shot at blackmail by saying he will come back. “I’ll train clean as I’ve always done. Right now even though my morale is low I know I’ll come back just as strong.”
I hope he does and I just hope he races clean as well.
Before all was said and done however the Saxo Bank team boss, Bjarne Riis, believed to be still pissing steroids ever since his 1996 Tour win of which he has long since done what his team’s leader couldn’t do today, and admitted his guilt, got his word in edgeways by expressing his undying support for the rider before releasing him from his contract.
“We inherited this case, and we patiently waited for a decision,” he mumbled, referring to the fact that Contador signed for Saxo Bank before learning of his positive test. “All along, we followed the rules and because Alberto was cleared [by the RFEC in early 2011], he was able to ride.”
Both parties stated their wish to work together again in the future, but whether that happens remains to be seen. Still, once he has served the time handed out to him and is free once again to race, you’d have to be a mug to stay away from him, because even riding clean there is no denying his huge talent. Yet if he just admitted it all — assuming there is something to admit — before the lie drags on to Armstrong-esk proportions then I imagine second chances would come much easier, and likewise, public support outside of Spain.