Sports in brief: Cyclist Contador won't quit racing, maintains innocence

cycling

contador won't quit, maintains innocence

MADRID — Alberto Contador vowed Tuesday to return to the pinnacle of cycling, maintaining his innocence in the face of a two-year doping ban that stripped the Spanish star of his 2010 Tour de France title.

He said his lawyers are considering whether to appeal the ban handed down by sport's highest court and insisted that even if the punishment stands he will return to challenge for more Tour titles.

The penalty is retroactive and will expire in August.

"I'm sure of one thing: I want to come back to ride the best races," Contador said at a news conference, making in his first comments since Monday's verdict ended an 18-month doping investigation that again highlighted cycling's long-standing problem with banned substances.

Contador had previously hinted that he might quit if banned for testing positive for clenbuterol on his way to winning a third Tour title in 2010.

The Spaniard had based his defense on a bad steak, saying he must have digested the clenbuterol — a banned anabolic agent — by eating contaminated meat that his team imported from Spain during the Tour.

Contador said his legal team is examining whether to appeal to Switzerland's supreme court, which is the only body he can still turn to in hopes of being exonerated. He said the ordeal has left him disillusioned with the sport and he would never recommend professional cycling to anyone.

"The only satisfaction I feel is that whatever decision was reached, the ruling never says I doped," Contador said. "There was never an intention on my part."

tennis

Li sidelined by back pain in Paris

French Open champion Li Na retired with a sore back against Tsvetana Pironkova in the second set of her opening match at the Open GDF Suez in Paris.

Third-seeded Li took a medical timeout while trailing 7-6 (7-5), 3-2 to have her lower back massaged and played a few more points before retiring.

"It was so painful," Li said. "That's why I called the physio to come to the court. I tried to tape and then tried to play the point, but it didn't work. I'll go to the hospital to take an MRI to see what happened."

Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic withdrew because of a left thigh strain sustained last week in Serbia's 3-2 win over Belgium in the Fed Cup.

obituary

Soccer 'pioneer' Keough, 84

Harry Keough, who played for the U.S. soccer team that famously upset England at the 1950 World Cup, died at his home in St. Louis. He was 84.

U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Michael Kammarman said his death was confirmed by son Ty Keough, who also played for the American national team.

A defender who had one goal in 19 appearances for the U.S. from 1949-57, Mr. Keough coached Saint Louis University to five NCAA soccer titles. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.

"Harry was a true pioneer, representing the finest of a generation of men and women who built the foundations for soccer in the United States on which we stand today," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said. "While his participation on the U.S. team that beat England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup remains a memory that fans around the world treasure, it is his lasting contribution to soccer in St. Louis and around the country as a player and a coach that will be his true legacy."

golf

Inkster antsy after surgery

Even when she took time off the LPGA Tour to have two children, Juli Inkster never went more than a month without playing golf. Now comes her biggest challenge.

After trying to cope with pain in her right elbow, Inkster had surgery Jan. 27 to repair a torn tendon. The Hall of Famer will be in some form of a cast for the next month, and might not be able to return until the middle of summer at the earliest. That's okay with her.

"It's going to take a lot of work, but I want to go out on my terms," said Inkster, 51. "This is the first injury I've ever had. Before the surgery, I was kind of floundering. I wouldn't say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at least this is the start of the tunnel."

The tough part will be finding something to do, except for the physical therapy. Inkster is all about competing. It's been in her blood since she won the U.S. Women's Amateur three straight years, and then went on to the career Grand Slam.

"Me? How do you think Brian is feeling?" said Inkster, whose husband is the head pro at Los Altos Country Club. "I'm sure there's going to be some 'Sorry, I've got another meeting today, honey.' I think once I get started with physical therapy I'm going to be fine. But I've been watching a lot of NCIS. It got to the point where I was watching so much football I started calling the plays."

et cetera

College football: Missouri's Elvis Fisher, a three-year starter at left tackle before he sustained a season-ending knee injury in August, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility, the Kansas City Star reported. Fisher, a St. Petersburg Catholic graduate, was injured during preseason drills. … A misdemeanor drug charge against former Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been dropped, court records show. A court filing dated Feb. 2 said no criminal charges would be filed against Kirkpatrick, who skipped his senior season to enter the NFL draft and is projected as a first-round pick. Kirkpatrick announced the dropped charges in a Tweet: "For those who doubted: NO CHARGES FILED against me for marijuana bust in Florida."

Times wires

Sports in brief: Cyclist Contador won't quit racing, maintains innocence 02/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 11:09pm]

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