Contador Addresses Criticism

Defending champ won't catch a break

Contador in 2007

Alberto Contador in 2007     Photo: Goldenbembel/Wikimedia

Alberto Contador, last year’s Tour de France winner, is under pressure from all fronts days before the Tour's launches on Saturday. Reporters at a press conference today peppered Contador and Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis with questions about doping. Contador is facing ongoing legal procededing from a positive test last year that he blames on contaminated meat. The appeal process will last through August, with Contador’s win from last year—and whatever result he achieves this year—on the line. But Contador downplayed that storyline. "What's important is to focus on the race, to keep my goal in mind," he told Reuters.  Meanwhile, Tour chief Christian Prudhomme was wary of the message Contador's presence will send. “We have to take a neutral perspective. We’re right in the middle of proceedings,” he told the Agence France-Presse. And Andy Schleck, Contador's biggest competition, still hasn't forgotten Contador's controversial decision not to stop when Schleck's threw a chain last year in stage 15. "Alberto apologized and I forgave him," Schleck told the Herald Sun. "I forgave him, but I did not forget."

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