Contador defends himself

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador hits out at accusations against him

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador on Friday hit out at recent doping suspicions against him by claiming he has never used performance enhancing drugs in his career.

Reading a statement outside the headquarters of the Superior Council for Spanish Sports in the company of Discovery Channel sporting director Johan Bruyneel, Contador said, "I have never used doping products or ever participated in a doping act."

The Spaniard added he would take legal action if "defamatory information and attacks continue against me."

The 24-year-old Discovery Channel rider was told on Wednesday he is not welcome to participate at the Pro-Tour's Vattenfall Cyclassics event in Hamburg on August 19 after organisers of the race said the Spaniard had been named in connection with the Operation Puerto blood-doping scandal.

German authorities say they have received information from German doping expert Werner Franke which, he claims, shows Contador had taken testosterone and asthma medication.

The Spaniard has also joined disgraced Astana riders Andrei Kashechkin and former team leader Alexandre Vinokourov and fellow countryman and Caisse d'Epargne rider Alejandro Valverde in withdrawing from the Tour of Spain (Vuelta), which begins in September.

A meeting by Vuelta organisers has been scheduled for Monday to decide on the participation of the Astana team.

Former Astana team leader Vinokourov was sacked by his team in July after failing a doping test during the Tour de France which prompted the withdrawal of the entire team from cycling's most prestigious race, while fellow Kazakh Kashechkin failed a drugs test last week.

© AFP 2007

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