Now retired, Contador blasts clenbuterol ban

The newly retired Alberto Contador spoke with a Spanish radio station about his controversial ban and what's next for him.

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Alberto Contador said his backdated racing ban that cost him overall titles in the 2010 Tour de France and the 2011 Giro d’Italia was a “huge injustice.”

Speaking on Spanish radio, Contador spoke out about his controversial clenbuterol ban, saying it was unfair that the Court of Arbitration for Sport disqualified the two grand tour victories.

“It’s a huge injustice,” Contador said. “It’s something that’s going to stay with me my whole life.” [related title=”More Alberto Contador news” align=”right” tag=”Alberto-Contador”]

Contador has rarely spoken about his clenbuterol case. In 2010, he tested positive for traces of clenbuterol and challenged a UCI ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In the interim, Contador kept racing and won the 2011 Giro. He eventually lost his appeal and had results from 2010 and 2011 stripped away.

Contador’s official palmares includes seven grand tour wins — two Giros, two Tours, and three Vueltas — but he suggested he considers himself the winner of the two disqualified grand tours as well.

“What I take away is the feeling that the fans had watching the races, that they enjoyed them, and the work I put into them, and what I achieved,” he told Onda Cero radio. “I am not going to give too much importance to what appears on paper. The palmares in the end are three times triple crown (Giro, Tour, Vuelta), but it’s also a complicated topic. In the end, nothing is going to change, and the people who pay attention to this know it was one of the biggest injustices ever done in sport.”

Contador has been making the media rounds following his dramatic retirement at the Vuelta a España this month. Last week, he was on Spain’s top late-night chat show after a visit to the presentation of three stages to open the 2018 Giro in Israel.

Contador said he made the decision to retire when he crashed heavily in the first half of the 2017 Tour, and said he could not have scripted a better farewell than his victorious climb up Anglirú to close out the 2017 Vuelta.

“I soaked up everything at the Vuelta,” Contador said. “When I was climbing the Anglirú, I thought that I only have 2 kilometers left before ending my career, and I am going to enjoy this. I never enjoyed a race with so much freedom, and I raced the Vuelta just the way I wanted.”

Contador also spoke out against the use of power meters in races, and raised concerns about the unlimited team budgets sweeping the peloton.

“More and more, the are big differences between the team budgets, and even some teams that have three times as much money as others,” he said. “And another big stumbling block for cycling are the power meters. Training today is all based on power. Some riders can hold out 20 minutes, others just four, so if you have five riders who can hold on for four minutes, those four can go full-gas for four minutes each, and their leader only has to make a four-minute effort. I think they’re fine for training, but not in racing.”

Contador said he’s barely touched the bike since retiring, but confirmed he will participate in upcoming criteriums in Japan and China to close out his professional career.

Contador also confirmed he has no interest in becoming a team manager or sport director, but said he will work closely with his under-23 and junior racing squads to help develop young talent in Spain.

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