Danish-based Team Saxo Bank have officially announced that disgraced Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador will rejoin them on August 5, following the serving out of his suspension for doping offences which dated back to the 2010 TdF. Following a tortuously protracted period which saw the 29-year-old initially cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation – who believed the story that he had accidentally ingested the performance-enhancer Clenbuterol via contaminated meat – the Saxo Bank star was finally found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following appeals by both the UCI and The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). The verdict saw Contador banned from the sport for a two year period, but much of it retrospectively meaning he is free to rejoin his former team later this summer.
The new deal with Saxo Bank ties Contador to the team until the end of the 2015 season. Commenting on his return, team owner Bjarne Riis says: ‘A lot of speculations and rumors have surrounded Alberto Contador and his future in the past months, but both our sponsors, the team and Alberto have shared the same wish to continue and built on our relationship. All along throughout these last two tough years we have stood by Alberto, so to be able to announce his return to the team is something I have been really looking forward to.’
Unsurprisingly Contador seems more than happy with the situation, commenting: ‘The support I have experienced from (Bjarne Riis and the team) in a very difficult situation is extraordinaire. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike, and my aim is to repay that support, hopefully with some great results…’