Lie detector test in Contador case, WADA pursuing transfusion theory for Clenbuterol positive
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Lie detector test in Contador case, WADA pursuing transfusion theory for Clenbuterol positive

by Shane Stokes at 5:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spanish newspaper lists details of next week’s CAS hearing

Alberto ContadorOne week before the start of Alberto Contador’s hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the stakes have been raised considerably by some details of what will form part of the hearing before the sporting authority.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, various experts will represent WADA and seek to prove that a transfusion is the most likely origin of the rider’s clenbuterol positive.

To counter this, the rider will have his own team of specialists including a polygraph expert who will use a lie detector test to try to support the rider’s testimony.

El Pais reports that a total of 23 people will appear as witnesses or experts, with ten of these speaking for the appeal and the remaining thirteen representing Contador.

The latter group will include US lie detector expert Louis Rovner, who will reportedly use the polygraph analysis of a statement by Contador to try to show he’s telling the truth. Also part of the line-up is Vivian James, an 87 year old anti-doping expert who was part of a UK Sport Expert Committee which reported in 2000 that some Nandralone cases were caused by contamination and that minimum thresholds should be set, as well as Paul Scott, who in the past ran out-of-competition testing for teams now called HTC Highroad and Garmin-Cervélo.

It will also include the Italian hematologist Giuseppe Banfi, who was part of his case before the Spanish federation, a British biostatician who will question the UCI’s biological passport and, if necessary, a German expert in plasticizers. He will be called if WADA chooses to act on what was reported as high levels of the substance, which is believed can be the sign of a blood transfusion.

The defence team will also include a civil guard [Spanish policeman] plus a private detective who tried to trace the origin of the meat reportedly bought in Irún.

WADA’s group is reported as also including some real heavyweights, including WADA’s scientific director Olivier Rabin, Austrailan anti-doping expert Michael Ashenden, who is part of the UCI’s biological passport analysis body, Pierre Sottas, who worked to develop the passport and two lab analysts who carried out the sample analysis.

El Pais states that group also includes a biostatician who will try to show that to return a positive test for clenbuterol, a very large amount of meat would need to be eaten to show traces in urine.

The group’s contention however is that contaminated meat is very unlikely as being the source, and so a Spanish lawyer will be called, as well as the butcher who sold the steak plus the manager of the Spanish association of cattle ranchers.

It is reported that WADA will instead argue that a transfusion was the source of the positive test. It has long been rumoured that this was part of the case, although the UCI itself said that it would not pursue this angle.

Its decision to do so would explain why WADA kept its appeal separate rather than joining forces with the UCI.

It was recently announced that WADA would not continue funding to develop the plasticizer test. An anti-doping expert has told VeloNation that this does not imply faults with the test, but rather that alternative methods are now being explored instead.

The test can only be used to try to identify transfusions which came from certain types of blood bags, meaning that alternative storage containers could sidestep detection.

The CAS hearing will begin on November 21st and run for four days. If found guilty of a transfusion, Contador will lose his 2010 Tour de France title plus the results he has achieved since, as well as facing a ban of at least two years.

If he is cleared, his Tour result could stand, depending on CAS’s interpretation of WADA’s rules. He would retain his 2011 Giro title plus other results from this season, and he would be free to continue his career.


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