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Thursday, July 23, 2009


Contador ducks doping questions

By Agence France Presse
Published: Jul. 23, 2009

Tour de France race leader Alberto Contador on Thursday refused to respond to questions relating to his stunning climbing performance in the 15th stage and Thursday’s time trial victory.

Spain's 2007 champion took another step towards overall victory when he won the 18th stage time trial to take a virtually unassailable lead of 4:11 over Luxembourg's Andy Schleck.

Coming less than a week after his impressive victory on the summit of Verbier in Switzerland, it has cemented Contador's reputation as the best stage racer in the world.

But asked to react to doubts expressed by former Tour de France winner Greg Lemond, present at the race Thursday, on his performances Contador refused to answer.

"I won't answer this question," Contador said through his translator when asked to explain his impressive climbing performance to Verbier.

Last Sunday Contador attacked a small group of favorites containing teammate Lance Armstrong 5.6km from the summit of the 8.8km climb to the summit finish of Verbier to win the stage and take command of the yellow jersey.

Moments later the determined reporter repeated his question.

"Otra pregunta (next question)," said the 26-year-old Contador.

When asked to reveal his V02 max, his maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen while racing, the Spaniard was evasive.

""Otra pregunta," said Contador again.

So far on the Tour, and despite increased efforts to weed out the cheats, there have been no positive doping cases.

Contador won his first Tour in 2007 as a member of the Discovery Channel team and, after his Astana team was not invited to the 2008 edition, he won the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España that year. Contador was also excluded from the 2006 Tour after his name and those of other members of his then Liberty Seguros team were included in dossiers seized in the Spanish Operación Puerto investigation. He was later cleared of those allegations.

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