A depressed Alberto Contador was holed up in a luxury Mallorca hotel yesterday as the Tour de France champion set about coming to terms with the one-year ban handed down to him for failing a doping test. The 28-year-old Spaniard was informed of the preliminary decision to suspend him by his national federation on Wednesday and was given 10 days to appeal before a final verdict.
As his Saxo Bank team-mates headed out to train on the Balearic Island yesterday, Contador stayed at the Gran Hotel Son Net in the hills above Puigpunyent. The triple Tour champion, who also faces being stripped of his 2010 title and has said he may quit cycling if he is punished, was licking his wounds in his five-star room as persistent drizzle swept over the mist-shrouded hilltops nearby.
"He is disillusioned because he is innocent and he feels he is being punished unfairly," spokesman Jacinto Vidarte said. "He is in no condition to train right now and it makes no sense in the current situation. He is down after being informed of the sanction." Contador is due to appear before the media today.
He has been provisionally suspended since August after testing positive for a small amount of the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol during last year's Tour. He has denied deliberate wrongdoing, saying the failed test was due to contaminated meat.
The case could drag on for months as the rider, the governing body or the World Anti-Doping Agency could challenge the ban if they feel it is too harsh or too lenient.