Contador to return to Vuelta?
Madrid - Spain's controversial three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador said Wednesday it was "very likely" that he will once again compete in the Spanish Vuelta next year.
The 28-year-old rider did not participate in this year's Tour of Spain, citing the need to rest. He last competed in the race in 2008 when he won it.
"Next year my goal is the Tour of France but it is very likely that I will take part in the 2012 Tour of Spain. I feel like it again," he said during an interview with the website of Spanish public broadcaster TVE.
Contador finished in fifth place in the Tour of France this year. A week later he announced that he would not compete in this year's Spanish Vuelta.
The Spaniard is only the fifth cyclist to win all three of cycling's premier events - the Tour of France, the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Italy - and is the fastest to accomplish the feat.
He tested positive for a tiny amount of the banned muscle-building substance clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France, which he went on to win.
But he was cleared to compete when the Spanish cycling federation rescinded an initial decision to hand down a one-year competition ban, accepting the rider's claim that he had unknowingly consumed drug-contaminated meat and was therefore not negligent.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and world cycling's governing body UCI are appealing against the federation's decision to acquit the rider.
The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is scheduled to consider their appeal at a Novermber 21-24 hearing.
If found guilty Contador will have his 2010 Tour de France victory taken away as well as his Tour of Italy triumph this year.