A day after sport's highest court handed down a two-year, retroactive ban of Alberto Contador for his positive drug test during the 2010 Tour de France that he eventually won, the cyclist reiterated his declaration of innocence and said he may appeal the ban. Cantador also said that he has shelved any plans to retire.
As it stands now, the only way Cantador could get his third Tour de France and last season's Giro de Italia titles restored is for him to take his appeal to Switzerland's supreme court -- the only one above Court of Arbitration for Sport, which handed down Monday's ruling. Cantador has maintained his innocence throughout the process, claiming that he only had a small amount of a muscle-building steroid in his system and that he contracted it from a contaminated piece of meat (via the Associated Press).
"Something doesn't work with the system,'' Contador said at a crowded news conference in his native Pinto, on the outskirts of Madrid. "My lawyers and I will fight as far as we need to demonstrate my innocence."
Assuming the band is upheld, Cantador would be reinstated in time for August's Vuelta a Espana. Although Saxo Bank-SunGuard team boss Bjarne Riis said Cantador won't be paid during his ban, he did indicate that the racer would be welcomed back once the ban is over.
As cycling blog Podium Cafe pointed out, though, his return may not be that simple:
Next up? The UCI is studying the status of the Saxo Bank Pro Tour license in light of the arbitration court's decision. Contador loses the points he earned between the 2010 Tour and the arbitration court decision this week. Saxo Bank could also lose those points, which would mean an end to their Pro Tour status.