Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will test his form during the Tour of Murcia starting Friday, his second race since Spain's cycling federation lifted his doping suspension. The 28-year-old Saxo Bank rider said his goal was to see if he has improved since last month's fourth in the Tour of the Algarve, his first race back since he was cleared to compete again.
"That is the idea, to see what my place is," he said in a statement. "In Murcia there will be riders who are in better shape than me. Winning will be very difficult, but I will be there, to see what result I get in the end."
Contador tested positive for minute traces of the banned muscle-building substance clenbuterol during last July's Tour de France, which he won. The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) last month rescinded proposals to hand down a one-year competition ban after accepting Contador's claim that he ate drug-contaminated meat and was therefore not negligent.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have that judgement overturned. Budget constraints have forced organizers to reduce this year's Tour of Murcia from five to three stages, with Sunday's closing leg a 12.4 kilometer individual time trial.