Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck dearly hopes that race winner Alberto Contador can prove his innocence after the Spaniard was provisionally suspended for failing a dope test.
Contador was suspended after a World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Germany found a “very small concentration” of the banned substance clenbuterol in his urine sample on July 21 at the Tour, according the international cycling federation.
The three-time Tour champion is vowing to clear his name and not let cycling’s latest drug scandal “destroy everything that I have done” and he has found an ally in an unlikely place, with Schleck using his Twitter page to voice his support.
“I hope he is innocent and I think he deserves the right to defend himself now,” Schleck wrote.
“What a crazy day in cycling with the news about Contador. I only heard about it in the press.”
Contador beat Schleck by 39 seconds in winning his this year’s Tour and if three-time Tour winner is stripped of his the title, Luxembourg’s Schleck would in principle be declared the Tour winner.
But Contador has denied doping, vowing to fight the allegations while claiming he is a victim of “food contamination”.
“It is a clear case of food contamination,” an emotional Contador said. “I am sad and disappointed but hold my head high.” “I think this is going to be resolved in a clear way.
“With the truth behind you, you can speak loud and clear, and I am confident justice will prevail.”
He said he ingested the banned substance, clenbuterol, in meat that he had brought from Spain the day before the control in France on July 21.
But world cycling’s ruling body, the UCI, said that only a “very small concentration” of the drug had been found and that the case warranted “further scientific investigation” because the Cologne laboratory that detected the substance is known to be able to detect the tiniest traces of drugs.
Former Astana team leader Contador has not competed in a major race since his Tour victory. He is due to leave Astana at the end of the year after signing a two-year contract with Schleck’s Saxo Bank team.