Schleck upset over ban

Schleck upset over Contador ban
By Reuters

07/02/2012 at 02:01Updated 08/02/2012 at 20:47

Andy Schleck claimed there is "no reason to be happy" despite being set to receive the 2010 Tour de France title in the wake of Alberto Contador's two-year ban.

Luxembourg's Schleck, who finished as runner-up behind Contador at the time of the event two years ago, said: "There is no reason to be happy now.

"First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. This is just a very sad day for cycling. The only positive news is that there is a verdict after 566 days of uncertainty. We can finally move on.

"I trust that the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) judges took all things into consideration after reading a 4,000-page file. If now I am declared overall winner of the 2010 Tour de France it will not make me happy. I battled with Contador in that race and I lost.

"My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sporting way, being the best of all competitors, not in court. If I succeed this year, I will consider it as my first Tour victory."

The decision prompted mixed reactions from the cycling - and general sporting - world with Spanish tennis world number two Rafa Nadal leading the messages of support for Contador.

Nadal said on his official Twitter feed: "The Contador news is incredible, there is no definitive evidence and they give him the maximum punishment...LAMENTABLE...keep your spirits up champion! All my support!"

Juan Carlos Castano, Spanish federation president said: "It's very bad news for Spanish sport. For us this journey has ended."

"This is a sad day for our sport," said Pat McQuaid, International Cycling Union president. "Some may think of it as a victory, but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping: every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many."

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "It shows that whatever the cost, whoever is involved, the ruling bodies are ready to go all the way. It would be logical that Andy Schleck be handed the title but it has to be the UCI's decision."

Opinions on the matter came thick and fast following the decision.

Bjarne Riis, Contador's Saxo Bank team manager: "The result was obviously not what we had hoped for, but for now our management team is still in the process of reviewing the ruling and the documentation so we can better understand the decision."

2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans: "I really just followed it as any fan. I don't know about the process, it went on for too long that's for sure. That case ran on for so long I don't know what the truth is, or what's right or wrong in that whole situation."

Russian Denis Menchov, who will move up to second place in the 2010 Tour: "Third overall was the place that I achieved in the 2010 Tour and I was happy with that. But I don't want to look back, I'm focusing on the future, in particular on how to prepare myself for this year's Tour."

Italian Michele Scarponi, set to be awarded the 2011 Giro title which Contador will lose: "Together with my team, Lampre-ISD, I acknowledge the decision by the CAS in the Contador case. I'm very sorry for Alberto... This decision doesn't change the value of the results I obtained and my upcoming goals."

Spain's Oscar Pereiro, 2006 Tour de France winner: "Two years of sanctions to Alberto Contador and the judgement says that the doping is not proven. Then? Sons of a ..."

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara: "It's a bizarre day for cycling and a sad day for sport. It's pity it took them so long to reach a verdict."

Former cycling great Eddy Merckx: "I am disgusted. I would like other sports to go and try to find minute traces of clenbuterol. It's another huge blow to cycling."