Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador has finally returned from his doping ban, competing in the first stage of the Tour of Benelux on Monday.
The Eneco Tour, also known as the Tour of the Low Countries, kicked off on Monday, the same day that Contador’s ban expired, reports The Times of India. The Spanish cyclist tested positive for clenbuterol, an anabolic steroid, during the 2010 Tour de France.
He blamed the positive test on a contaminated steak he ate during the Tour. He was subsequently stripped of his 2010 Tour win, and the ban also ruled him out of the 2012 London Olympics. Contador stated of his reinstatement that, “I’m happy to be back.” The cyclist went on to say:
“I’ve put a difficult time behind me. Fortunately I’ve always been able to count on my family and friends. What has marked me is the powerlessness that I felt faced with the decision makers. Tests are necessary but the loopholes in the rules need to be filled. I’m not looking for revenge — being back on my bicycle is my only desire. I want to feel happy again as a rider.”
The 29-year-old Alberto Contador was excited about the return from his doping ban, stating, according to Reuters, that:
“I had good feelings considering it was not the ideal day to start my comeback, with a stage of more than 200 kilometers, rain, a lot of wind and a flat course. My team mates protected me at all times and I think that these days will do me good in terms of picking up rhythm for the Vuelta. We have a good team and I believe we can be very successful.”
Alberto Contador is hoping to make the Spanish squad for the Netherlands’ road world championships in September. He also plans to compete in the Tour of Spain later in August.