segunda-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2011

Lisa Norden and Ben Hammond win Trishave Sydney Sprint Series Race 4 2011

On a day that saw two ironman world champions racing at Kurnell we saw a great women's race with current world ITU No.3 Lisa Norden go head to head with Lisa Marangon. The only difference between the two lead women was half a minute in the 5km run. Ben Hammond wrapped up the series with a solid win today almost two minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
Norden and Marangon (Pictured left) came out of the water together (as seen in this photo) and kept each other honest on the bike. Both came in to T2 almost together with Norden heading out on the run about 50mtrs ahead. She then put about another 100mtrs on Marangon on the run but at the end of the day there was not much in it. It was a great race from Marangon as she heads towards a year of ITU and short course triathlons.
Lisa Norden heads back to her Canberra base and to coach Darren Smith (where she trains with a crack squad including Dave Matthews).
Great to chat with Lisa Marangon before the race. She was very relaxed and talked about Geelong the week before. She got a very bad stitch in the run which changed the perspective on her result. She swam and rode as strongly as anyone in the race and the run was the difference on paper. Exciting to watch her progress towards Olympic distance glory.
Missing today were a number of open triathletes due to varying reasons. If ever there was a louder call for an open category or pro series this was it. In Sydney's major triathlon series the omission of an open category to showcase our elite talent is glaringly obvious. I heard it today from pretty much all the competing open athletes and also the guys and girls who came down to watch but didn't race today. Triathlon NSW... please bring it back.
Also seen quietly sneaking out of the water was current and two time world ironman championChris 'Macca' McCormack. There were rumours during the week that Macca was going to race at Kurnell. He was swimming for a team.
Michellie Jones raced today to get a feel for where she is at after her winter training. Even though the day was cool at Kurnell Michellie told Trizone after the race that she found the conditions humid. "After training in the USA over the last few months in much colder conditions I really found today a bit warm. I enjoyed the race today and really enjoyed racing as an age grouper.' Michellie is off to Gerringong for a week long training camp and then will head back to the states. Her racing calendar for the next couple of months is packed full and includes some Olympic distance racing before getting in to the longer distance triathlons.
(Michellie Jones pictured left)
Congratulations to Ben Hammond on securing the series after a great performance today. Ben has done a lot of racing this season already and will be heading off to Europe at the end of our season to race for a team over there. Look out for Ben's regular reports from Europe. He will be letting us know how the racing is going for him and the other Australian's racing over there. It will be interesting to get in to the triathlon teams over there.
Travis Shields raced well today with an age group win and third fastest time overall. Sneaking up the finish ladder is Campbell Hanson. Cam is a Kiwi who now runs a successful sports physiotherapy practice on the north shore of Sydney. Amongst many things he looks after many of the top Shute Shield rugby teams and will be touring with the junior Wallabies over winter. This is Cam's third triathlon since 1996. Back then he was a top junior with fellow Kiwi's Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmel. Cam didn't pursue a career in triathlon when he felt he wouldn't be able to get his 10km run down to 30mins.
Matilda Raynolds was disappointed to not be able to have a crack at Lisa Norden and Lisa Marangon after a mammoth training week which included a huge bike, run and swim session yesterday. Matilda is working toward her next goal race which is two weeks away and didn't want to interrupt her training schedule. She still put in a solid 1:03.
(Sorry Macca not the best picture but Spot and I were too busy talking and you surprised us. You look happy though)
Mick Maroney had a blowout on the run when he popped his calf. Mick said after the race that this was something that happens every few months. Of all the days for me to decide to go for a long ride down to Kurnell and watch the race my number one competitor had a DNF! Benefiting from this today was Alex Frame who manged to get on to the podium. 
Euan McNair snuck in to the top ten for the first time with a fast time of 1:00:39. Glad to see he has gotten over his jet lag.
Anthony Parker and Matt Rae showed their class taking out the top two spots in the men's 35-39 age group and finishing in the top ten overall. Darren Quarrell rounded off the top ten places with a very fast 1:00:47 and 1st place in the men's 40-44 age group. Andrew Cross once again used his very fast run to sneak in just ahead of Michellie Jones. More swim squads Andrew!
Special mention to my fellow Balmoral club member and only 70+ athlete Hannelore Paxton who I have seen at a number of races this season. You are very inspirational to all of us.
Great race calling by Matty Harris as always. I have photos of you big guy so don't despair. TheTrizone Nepean photo gallery was especially kind to you.

To analyse these results further click here.

1Benjamin HAMMOND0:57:30M18-240:10:590:29:240:17:06
2Anthony PARKER0:59:14M35-390:10:500:30:280:17:55
3Travis SHIELDS0:59:26M30-340:11:330:30:340:17:19
4Lisa NORDEN0:59:36F25-290:10:310:30:500:18:14
5Jesse FREEMAN0:59:46M14-170:11:030:30:510:17:51
6Campbell HANSON1:00:12M30-340:11:430:30:290:17:58
7Matt RAE1:00:17M35-390:12:430:30:010:17:32
8Lisa MARANGON1:00:26F30-340:10:310:31:080:18:45
9Euan MCNAIR1:00:39M30-340:11:560:30:100:18:32
10Darren QUARRELL1:00:47M40-440:12:100:30:420:17:54
11Scott MILSON1:00:53M35-390:11:330:31:310:17:49
12Chris SOUTHWELL1:00:54M45-490:10:440:30:490:19:20
13Cam DINNIE1:01:06M25-290:11:480:30:250:18:52
14Andrew CROSS1:01:15M35-390:12:500:31:170:17:07
15Michellie JONES1:02:11F40-440:11:140:32:130:18:43

By Karl Hayes

domingo, 20 de fevereiro de 2011

Takapuna & Geelong featuring Team DAZ

                                  Vixter H.  does it again......

In the women’s race it was a repeat of last year with Great British triathlete Vicky Holland proving too strong for the best the Kiwis could muster on the day. Wanaka’s Nicky Samuels certainly made the defending champion work for her victory though, going clear on the bike in a solo ride that bought Samuels over a minute heading on to the run leg, it was a margin that Holland thought might be enough for victory.

"If I’m honest I thought Nicky had enough, I had a problem on the bike today with cramp so couldn’t do too much of my share, I thought we’ll see how it goes on the run and when we halved the deficit in the first lap I thought maybe we can catch.

"I got off the bike and really wasn’t sure how I would go, how I would run. I had been cramping down my left side but within 200 metres it started to ease off and I thought I would be alright and luckily it got better and better.

"This race and venue is fantastic, every time I come it is a great day, a great reception and a great race, I have to come back and look for the hat trick now, I will definitely be back.”

Hewitt ran toe to toe with Holland throughout the run as both passed Samuels but the Christchurch triathletes had no speed at the finish at this early stage of the season.

"I knew Nicky would go on the bike but didn’t know when and it turned out it was right at the start. I tried to chase and get the group to work but couldn’t get much help so we were chasing the whole time. I felt good on the run but didn’t have that extra speed with today being my first race of the season. It is a really nice race though and a good way to start the year.

Samuels like Holland thought she had done enough with a superb and gutsy bike ride.

"I thought a minute would be enough but had a few problems in the first kilometre on the run and that did it for the rest of the race. It was hard work definitely especially time trialling at the front, but I used the opportunity to go when the other girls were putting their shoes on so took my chance and went then, I just didn’t have it on the run today.”

The elite races concluded a fantastic day of racing with hundreds of beginner and age group athletes enjoying the same fully closed course around the Takapuna CBD in front of big crowds.

The Contact Tri Series now moves on to Wellington for the final round and the National Championships in mid March.
Contact Tri Series
500m swim, 16km bike, 4km run

Elite Women

1. Vicky Holland (Great Britain) 49:07  
2. Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch) 49:11
3. Nicky Samuels (Wanaka) 49:15
4. Rebecca Kingsford (Tirau) 50:17
5. Maddie Dillon (Auckland) 50:34


Elite Men
  • 1. Brad Kahlefeldt (Aust) 53.54
  • 2. Laurent Vidal (Fra) 53.58
  • 3. Brendan Sexton (Aust) 54.03
  • 4. Will Clarke (GBE) 54.12
  • 5. Cameron Good (Aust) 54.23
  • 6. Ryan Fisher (Aust) 54.41
  • 7. Dave Matthews (Aust) 54.45
  • 8. Jesse Featonby (Aust) 54.48
  • 9. Drew Box (Aust) 54.53
  • 10. Mitchell Robins (Aust) 54.58
Elite Women
  • 1. Emma Moffatt (Aust) 58.48
  • 2. Kirsten Sweetland (Can) 59.09
  • 3. Emma Jackson (Aust) 59.42
  • 4. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (Aust) 59.44
  • 5. Liz Blatchford (GBE) 59.51
  • 6. Lauren Campbell (Can) 1.00.34
  • 7. Ashleigh Gentle (Aust) 1.01.03
  • 8. Charlotte McShane (Aust) 1:01:04
  • 9. Lisa Marangon (Aust) 1:01:43
  • 10. Vendula Frintova (CZE) 1:02:09
Media Release issued by USM Events

sexta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2011

Parabéns Carlos Lopes

The Young Guns – Joao Silva - Portugal

They’re fit, fast and they’ve all got youth on their side. In this series we profile some of ITU’s rising stars - a generation of talent set to challenge the established names on the international scene. This week’s Young Gun: Joao Silva.
Without a world title to his name at any level, you could be forgiven for not knowing too much about Joao Silva, but the 21-year old from Portugal quietly crept up the world rankings to finish the 2010 season in fifth position, above some of the biggest names in the sport. This ability to slip under the radar and amass consistently good results could make Silva one of the most dangerous men on the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series circuit in 2011.
Joao Silva’s triathlon career began much by chance back in 2005 when a teacher recommended he attend a talent identification clinic ran by the Portuguese Triathlon Federation. The goal of the programme is to find, nurture and support young athletes who have a potential for success at high performance level. At that time Silva used to swim and practice some cross-country but admits he did not take these sports too seriously. His love at the time, like most other young boys in Portugal, was football.
Silva, a naturally quiet and unassuming character who is currently studying medicine, immediately showed enormous potential in the trials and was earmarked as a future talent. The Portuguese federation quickly set about designing a programme for Silva, who hails from the small town of Benedita, north of Lisbon.  The first task was to equip him with a bike which he didn’t even own at the time, and take his mind off football.
The first year in the sport was a difficult time for the young talent as he had a number of small accidents and injuries.  As an only child he also found it difficult to acclimatise to life away from his home for the first time. The combination of factors led him to miss the 2006 Triathlon European Championships in Autun, France.  However, Silva persevered, and in September after his first real solid block of training, Silva demonstrated his potential by claiming a bronze at the ITU Triathlon Junior World Championships in Lausanne.
Athletes take different paths to success. Some are shining stars who burst onto the scene and sometimes disappear just as quickly, while others quietly and steadily improve without attracting too much attention until they’re performing at the highest level. The latter can be said for Silva. Since 2006 it’s been a long and relatively modest road to improvement, having een plagued with various minor injuries over his short career.
In 2007 he won gold at the European Duathlon Championships in the junior division, and he has also collected a pair of Under23 European Triathlon titles in 2008 and 2010. However, he did not take any world titles during this time, and largely escaped widespread notice in the public arena. He unfortunately injured during the U23 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, after receiving a heavy blow to the ear during the swim leg.
But this injury may have contributed to Silva’s successful 2010.  After the disappointment of missing the chance to win an U23 world championship medal, he was eager to continue his season and represented Portugal in the U23 Cross Country World Championships.  Displaying good form there, he consolidated this with some solid off-season training and his hard work paid off with Silva claiming the 2010 Monterrey ITU Triathlon World Cup. This event seems to have been a good indicator of seasonal form as Paula Findlay took the women’s title in that event also.
Silva followed up the win with an inconspicuous 22nd at the Seoul leg of the 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series. From here on however, he put together a string of impressive and consistent performances.  It was his seventh place at round three in Madrid which Silva feels was the turning point in his 2010 season.
“I felt like I began to improve at the beginning of 2010, Quarteria [ITU Triathlon European Cup] and Monterrey were really important, but Madrid was really ‘the moment’ where I mixed it with the big boys. I was amazed,” said Silva.
He followed this with a notable fourth place at the European Championships, and finishes in 10th, 11th and 7th positions in Hamburg, London and Kitzbühel respectively. It was the sum of these performances followed by an excellent fourth position at the Grand Final in Budapest which gave Silva his final world ranking of fifth position. World rankings award consistency and form over time, mixed with the ability to perform on the big day when it counts and Joao Silva is a perfect example of this.
Silva attributes his rise in form to staying injury free in 2010.
“I felt like I improved so much in 2010 as until then I never had the opportunity to train continuously, mainly because of all my injuries. Perhaps now I’m a little more responsible or I’ve been fortunate but I’ve have no serious injuries which allowed me to train solidly,” he said.
While Silva’s exploits might not have garnered him widespread attention internationally, at home his success was quickly noticed by the Portuguese media. He recently signed with Sporting Clube de Portugal at a large reception in their stadium, with a fanfare normally reserved for footballers. The club is interestingly the main rival to Benfica, where Bruno Pais, Anais Moriz and Vanessa Fernandes are all members. He was recently awarded the ‘Olympic Medal’ from the Portuguese Olympic Committee for the best athlete in an Olympic sport, and also the ‘Best Male Athlete of the Year’ by the Portuguese Sports Confederation.
When asked of his expectations for 2011, Silva is modest.
“If I was asked that question one year ago, I would say that I’d really like to earn some points to improve my Olympic qualification ranking. This year my goals are the same,” he said.
If Silva can remain injury free and continue to improve as his did in 2010, then Olympic qualification may come easier than expected, and it could be podium positions and not just points he is challenging for this year. WithJavier Gomez recently stating that he views Silva as one of his biggest threats in 2011, it seems as though Joao Silva is a name we might be hearing a lot more of in the coming years.

quinta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2011

Takapuna Triathlon 2011

Brit back to defend Takapuna Triathlon

hollandsmVicky Holland (GBR) is back to defend her Contact Tri Series title at Takapuna this Sunday against a world class field but knows she has no chance of sneaking up on her more fancied rivals as she did a year ago.
Holland was noted as an ‘up and comer' before the race last year and wasn't expected to test the likes of Sam Warriner, Debbie Tanner and Andrea Hewitt. Her incredible sprint to victory then set up a stellar season, with the 24 year old ending the year ranked at 8 in the world.
Holland knows she will race over the sprint distance with a target on her back this Sunday.
"There is no doubt that last year I was able to enjoy some anonymity but part and parcel of being an improving athlete and reaching your goals is that people recognise you and think of you as a threat. Tactically I will just try to race the same way I did last year; being in the right place at the end of the bike leg and see whether my running legs are there on the day!"

Holland has fond memories of the race that will be covered live on television, and not only because she was first across the line.
"I remember a beautiful day, a great scenic location, and a small intimate course through the town that was totally lined with spectators creating a fantastic atmosphere. I really enjoyed the feel of racing in a town-centre circuit with so much support and I think this helped raise the level of our performances, shown by our four way sprint finish."
As if to prove the global nature of triathlon and her search for good training conditions, Holland comes to New Zealand after spending time in Africa and Australia.
"I've had a pretty good 'winter' so far with a running block in Kenya before Christmas and then 6 weeks in Canberra with my training group coached by Darren Smith. Takapuna fits into my schedule well as a start to the season. It's a fantastically organised race with some decent competition and in a great location. I am based in Canberra so a quick hop over to New Zealand is a reasonable trip for a race. Plus, I love New Zealand and it's a great excuse to come over!"
Amongst those looking to stop Holland going back to back on Sunday is New Zealand number one and a star of the ITU World Champs Series circuit Andrea Hewitt. The Cantabrian is equally enthused about a return to a favourite and exciting venue.
"Takapuna is a great place with a great atmosphere and I can't wait to race. It's nice to begin the year with a race in the NZ. The beach makes for a nice swim, and then winding around the small streets is pretty intense. There is no time for a break really with so many twists and turns on the course.
"I've been spending my time at home this summer to prepare for the International season. Olympic distance racing is all about swimming and cycling strongly and running the fastest. So, my training and preparation is all about balance over the three disciplines. And over the years, I have been able to increase my running and it has shown as my biggest improvement in the last two years. But still, there are three sports within triathlon and I can't discount one, I must train them all."
Also racing after missing the past two years is Nicky Samuels, the Wanaka triathlete has been imperious this summer, winning all three of her starts in the Contact Tri Series.
"I raced in Takapuna the very first time they held the race there. It's an exciting thing for triathlon in NZ as it is in a busy main centre, the roads are closed and everyone who is out to dinner in local pubs around the area has live sport right in front of their eyes. This way a lot of the crowd are not the usual triathlon watchers but they get really into it and behind it. It's a great way to get people involved in our sport one way or another.
"I travel to Auckland for some fitness testing on Thursday and Friday, this links well to finish a hard week off with Sunday's race. For me this race is about testing myself against some good athletes at this time of year to see where my training is at and what needs more focus. I will be looking for a good strong swim, hard bike and see how my run form is in comparison to the likes of Andrea Hewitt and Vicki Holland.
"With live TV covering this event, it's important to race to help develop triathlon in NZ, and to show case ourselves for our personal sponsors and supporters. This year though is all about qualifying for the London Olympics for me. The first qualifying race will be in August in London and this is what all my training is going towards now. I head away for another season early May."
These three won't have the race all their own way however, with a strong field on the start line, including leading U23 triathletes Sophie Corbidge and Rebecca Kingsford with both revelling in the chance to race against some of the world's best in their own back yard.
Racing for the elites takes place on Sunday afternoon, with age group and beginner races earlier in the day from 7.30am.

Contact Tri Series
Elite Women 3.55pm

quarta-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2011

Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2011

Pro Field For Abu Dhabi International Triathlon


The best field of long course pro triathletes outside the Ironman World Championship in Kona will come together in the United Arab Emirates on March 12 for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT). Sixty-one elite athletes, including defending champions Eneko Llanos of Spain and Great Britain’s Julie Dibens, will compete in the 3K swim, 200K bike and 20K run touring the sites of Abu Dhabi.
This will be the sophomore year for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. Photo: Nils Nilsen
This will be the sophomore year for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. Photo: Nils Nilsen
The stacked line-up also includes Ironman world champions and Aussie rivals Chris McCormack and Craig Alexander, who will go head-to-head for the first time since they raced one another Kona. All together, the international field of pro athletes holds more than 50 Ironman titles and over 100 national titles.
“This is a powerful line-up that truly lives up to our call to amateurs to ‘Compete With The Elite’,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, which presents the event. “The best the sport has will be in Abu Dhabi which is a ringing endorsement for an event which is only in its second year.”
All eyes will be on McCormack and Alexander, who have drawn attention for their longstanding rivalry, which will further play out on March 12 on the streets of Abu Dhabi. It’s yet to be seen if the 200K bike leg will offer an advantage to McCormack, known for his cycling strength.
“I love new races in new destinations, especially one with as much mystique as Abu Dhabi,” said Craig Alexander. “This will be my first race of the season and my first competitive race in the Middle East.”
Other top contenders in the men’s race include Llanos; Luxembourger Dirk Bockel, who finished second last year; and Rasmus Henning of Denmark, who rounded out the podium in third.
“I had a great experience in Abu Dhabi last year and hope to return and improve my third place finish,” said Henning. “The race course is world-class, which is reflected in the quality of athletes it has attracted this year. There will be a lot of athletes who will want to finish in the top three but will have a hard fight ahead of them.”
Also joining the men’s field: nine-time Ironman New Zealand winner Cameron Brown, winner and course record-holder of 2010 Ironman Wisconsin Joe Gambles and multiple Ironman champion Raynard Tissink of South Africa.
The women’s field will be equally deep. Leading the pack is Julie Dibens, ADIT defending champion, 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and three-time Xterra World Champion (‘07, ‘08, ‘09). Diben’s will be challenged by Leanda Cave, a world champion with a string of 70.3 podium finishes to her credit.
“It’s an epic event that plays to my strengths of the swim and bike,” said Cave. “I love a challenge, which is exactly what this course is. I am also looking forward to exploring the culture and sites of Abu Dhabi.”
Other female pro entrants include Jo Lawn, seven-time Ironman New Zealand champion; Caroline Steffen, ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship and second-place finisher at the 2010 Ironman World Championship; three-time Xterra champion Melanie McQuaid; two-time World Duathlon Champion Catriona Morrison; and Ironman South Africa winner Sonja Tajsich.
In addition, Team Abu Dhabi returns to the race with a squad led by 2005 Ironman World Champion Faris Al-Sultan. Teammates include Paul Ambrose, Jan Van Berkel, Swen Sundberg, Kristin Moeller and Rachel Joyce (who is back to prove she is in top condition after a shocking accident at last year’s ADIT).
“My disappointing exit from last year’s race has just made me more determined to come back and race well in Abu Dhabi this year,” said Joyce. “It’s going to be another stacked field and I’m looking forward to racing some of the best in the world, and of course, my goal is to get as close to the top of the podium as possible.”
The pros will vie for a piece of the $250,000 prize purse, with $50,000 awarded to both the male and female winner.
Eneko Llanos will face a tough field as he tries to defend 2010 title. Photo: Nils Nilsen
Eneko Llanos will face a tough field as he tries to defend 2010 title. Photo: Nils Nilsen
Craig Alexander
Faris Al-Sultan
Paul Ambrose
Björn Andersson
Stephen Bayliss
Cesar Belio
Luke Bell
Tim Berkel
Dirk Bockel
Timo Bracht
Cameron Brown
Massimo Cigana
Kieran Doe
Joe Gambles
Pedro Gomes
Justin Granger
Rasmus Henning
Ben Hoffman
Martin Jensen
Eneko Llanos
Paul Matthews
Chris McCormack
Luke McKenzie
Romans Melderis
Omar Nour
Graham O’Grady
Jordan Rapp
Bryan Rhodes
Josh Rix
Andrew Starykowicz
Rasmus Stubager
Sylvain Sudrie
Swen Sundberg
Kevin Taddonio
Raynard Tissink
Edo van der Meer
Frederik Van Lierde
Marino Vanhoenacker
Matty White
Julie Dibens dominated the bike leg to take the 2010 win. Photo: Nils Nilsen
Julie Dibens dominated the bike leg to take the 2010 win. Photo: Nils Nilsen
Leanda Cave
Julie Dibens
Heather Gollnick
Belinda Granger
Jessica Jacobs
Rachel Joyce
Jo Lawn
Emma-Kate Lidbury
Kristin Lie
Amy Marsh
Melanie McQuaid
Kristin Möller
Catriona Morrison
Angela Naeth
Edith Niederfriniger
Rachael Paxton
Lisa Ribes
Caroline Steffen
Christie Sym
Sonja Tajsich
Inka Wachter
Triathlete Magazine
Published: Feb 16th 2011 3:26 PM EST by Julia Polloreno

terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2011

Confirmed: Alberto Contador cleared of Clenbuterol charges

On a technicality?

Spanish Tour de France     champion free to race after charges are dropped
Alberto Contador is set to line up in the Tour of the Algarve starting on Wednesday after the competitions committee of the Spanish cycling federation decided to overturn its decision to ban him for a year following his positive test for Clenbuterol.  The Spaniard confirmed early reports, saying he had been "officially cleared by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation and has been authorized to return to competition immediately."
According to his press release, "If everything goes well, he will be at the start of Agarve tomorrow. 
According to a number of Spanish newspapers, the competitions committee decided to rethink its verdict on Friday last week based on article 296 of the UCI’s regulations, which says that an athlete can be exonerated if they prove that they had inadvertently ingested a banned product through no fault or negligence on their part.
Although Contador and his legal team were unable to produce a sample of the meat that they have claimed was tainted with the clenbuterol that resulted in the positive test, the fact that it could not be shown conclusively that Contador had deliberately taken the product worked in his favour.
"First of all, I'm relieved and obviously happy about this ruling. It has been some very stressful months for me, but throughout the case, I have been totally available for all inquiries in relation to my case, and all the way through, I have spoken in accordance with the truth," said Contador. "To both the team and the authorities I have explained that I never cheated or deliberately took a banned substance."
El País is among the newspapers reporting that the four lawyers on the committee may also have been swayed by a tweet posted last Thursday night by Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero that said “there are no legal grounds for sanctioning Contador”. The newspaper adds that the committee spent the weekend mulling over their decision and were expecting to announce it officially on Monday, but were delayed by the complexity of the argument explaining their decision to absolve Contador.
It is also believed that the committee have relied on the World Anti-Doping Agency's decision not to appeal against the dismissal of similar charges against German table tennis player Dimitri Ovtcharov, who tested positive for Clenbuterol after a tournament in China.
L'Equipe reported on Tuesday that there was a procedural flaw early in the case, which violated Spanish law. A letter sent from the UCI to the Spanish federation on November 8 was not also sent to Contador and his legal representatives, the French newspaper said. This was said to be in violation of the Spanish constitution and the “rights of the accused to be informed”.
Contador now looks set to defend the Tour of the Algarve title and has also been listed on Saxo Bank’s starters for the Tour of Murcia. His first major target of the season is likely to be the Giro d’Italia title.
Contador's Saxo Bank team reacted positively to the news.  "This
decision is indeed proof that the relevant authorities do not find grounds for believing that Alberto Contador has committed any intentional doping offence, which is absolutely vital for us. So I'm obviously happy on behalf of Alberto and the team. We take note of this decision and fully respect it, but we're also sensitive to the fact, that the parties of this case still have the right to appeal this decision," said Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis. He added that the team would continue to do its utmost in the fight against doping.