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Defense Lawyer Drops Alberto Contador as Witness in Doping Trial

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Alberto Contador won’t have to testify in a doping trial after the defense attorney who called him retracted a request that the two-time Tour de France champion appear in court in three days.

Ignacio Arroyo, the lawyer for Contador’s former team manager Manolo Saiz, told the so-called “Operacion Puerto” trial in Madrid today that he no longer needs the 2007 and 2009 Tour winner to testify.

“As the case proceeds, I make decisions,” Arroyo told reporters outside the courtroom. “I don’t need him during the court case.”

He said he had not spoken to Contador or Saiz prior to his decision.

Saiz, who was Contador’s manager on the Liberty Seguros team, is among five defendants standing trial in Madrid charged with a “crime against public health.” The trial is scheduled to end March 22.

In 2006, police uncovered more than 200 blood bags, transfusion equipment and drugs in raids on apartments in Madrid. Cyclists have been known to collect and later transfuse their own blood to increase their body’s volume of oxygen-carrying red blood cells that boost stamina.

Contador, whose initials A.C. were found on a training schedule by police, has said he had nothing to do with the ring. He was cleared to return to racing about two months after the raids. Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after failing a drugs test.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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