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Reaction to Contador's two-year doping ban

PARIS (Reuters) - Reactions to Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador's two-year ban Monday following a failed doping test during the 2010 Tour de France:

Spanish tennis world number two Rafa Nadal said on his official Twitter feed: "The Contador news is incredible, there is no definitive evidence and they give him the maximum punishment...LAMENTABLE...keep your spirits up champion! All my support!"

Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, who will be handed the 2010 Tour de France title: "There is no reason to be happy now. First of all I feel sad for Alberto. I always believed in his innocence. This is just a very sad day for cycling. The only positive news is that there is a verdict after 566 days of uncertainty. We can finally move on.

"I trust that the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) judges took all things into consideration after reading a 4,000-page file. If now I am declared overall winner of the 2010 Tour de France it will not make me happy. I battled with Contador in that race and I lost.

"My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sporting way, being the best of all competitors, not in court. If I succeed this year, I will consider it as my first Tour victory."

Juan Carlos Castano, Spanish federation president: "It's very bad news for Spanish sport. For us this journey has ended."

Pat McQuaid, International Cycling Union (UCI) president: "This is a sad day for our sport. Some may think of it as a victory, but that is not at all the case. There are no winners when it comes to the issue of doping: every case, irrespective of its characteristics, is always a case too many."

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme: "It shows that whatever the cost, whoever is involved, the ruling bodies are ready to go all the way. It would be logical that Andy Schleck be handed the title but it has to be the UCI's decision."

Bjarne Riis, Contador's Saxo Bank team manager: "The result was obviously not what we had hoped for, but for now our management team is still in the process of reviewing the ruling and the documentation so we can better understand the decision."

2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans: "I really just followed it as any fan. I don't know about the process, it went on for too long that's for sure. That case ran on for so long I don't know what the truth is, or what's right or wrong in that whole situation," the Australian told Reuters in London.

Russian Denis Menchov, who will move up to second place in the 2010 Tour: "Third overall was the place that I achieved in the 2010 Tour and I was happy with that. But I don't want to look back, I'm focusing on the future, in particular on how to prepare myself for this year's Tour."

Italian Michele Scarponi, set to be awarded the 2011 Giro title which Contador will lose: "Together with my team, Lampre-ISD, I acknowledge the decision by the CAS in the Contador case. I'm very sorry for Alberto... This decision doesn't change the value of the results I obtained and my upcoming goals."

Spain's Oscar Pereiro, 2006 Tour de France winner: "Two years of sanctions to Alberto Contador and the judgment says that the doping is not proven. Then? Sons of a ..."

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara: "It's a bizarre day for cycling and a sad day for sport. It's pity it took them so long to reach a verdict."

Former cycling great Eddy Merckx: "I am disgusted. I would like other sports to go and try to find minute traces of clenbuterol. It's another huge blow to cycling."

Marc Madiot, FDJ-Bigmat manager: "The verdict is coming too late. All races have been distorted for a year and a half. Andy Schleck will get the Tour title but he will be reminded all his life of how he got it. The system has to change."

(Compiled by Julien Pretot, Additional reporting by Gennady Fyodorov in Moscow, Tom Bartlett in London and Mark Elkington in Madrid; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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