Alberto Contador positive for clenbuterol at Tour de France, team claiming food contamination
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Alberto Contador positive for clenbuterol at Tour de France, team claiming food contamination

by Shane Stokes at 7:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Shock news shakes cycling

Alberto ContadorTour de France champion Alberto Contador will tomorrow hold a press conference in his hometown of Pinto, called to speak about the dramatic news this evening that he has tested positive.

The 27 year old team Astana rider was tested on July 21st and the analysis of that sample revealed traces of the banned steroid clenbuterol.

His spokesman released a brief statement tonight, announcing the news and claiming that the result is a case of food contamination.

The statement reads as follows:

Alberto Contador is affected by a doping control at the last Tour de France on July 21, where it was found the substance clenbuterol.

From the time of the first communication from the UCI, August 24, Alberto Contador alleged food contamination as the only possible explanation of what happened and has put it in the hands of the cycling authorities, in the confidence that they can clarify this very serious problem, which is now made public.

The experts consulted so far have agreed also that this is a food contamination case, especially considering the number of tests passed by Alberto Contador during the Tour de France, making it possible to define precisely both the time the emergence of the substance as the tiny amount detected, ruling out any other source or intentionality.

Alberto Contador will offer today, 30 September, at 12.00 hours, a Press Conference at Hotel Las Artes in Pinto (Paseo de las Artes, n º 15), in order to give his version of what happened to the public.

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Clenbuterol is non-steroidal β2 adrenergic agonist, similar in ways to ephinephrine and salbutamol. It’s also considered a stimulant with some androgenic properties. Under the WADA Code, Clenbuterol is a prohibited substance and its use attracts a 2 year disqualification from the sport.

Contador is facing a difficult struggle as the WADA Code states that an athlete is responsible for the substances that he or she takes. This means that all supplements need to be carefully checked and, historically, even cases of contamination have been punished by suspensions.

If Contador is disqualified from his third Tour de France victory, he would become only the second rider in history to lose the title due to a positive test. The other was the American Floyd Landis, who failed a test for testosterone four years ago. He pleaded innocence until this spring, when he then admitted that he had taken banned substances for most of his career.

Those revelations plus Landis’s accusations that others, including Lance Armstrong, were involved in systematic doping practices have been a catalyst for the current federal investigation which is being held in the United States.

Contador’s press conference tomorrow is certain to be attended by huge numbers of media people. The rider, who won the 2007, 2009 and 2010 Tours, will need to fight hard to hold onto the latter victory and, also, to avoid a lengthy ban.

He recently commented on the issue of doping to the German Bild publication. “The sport needs to come to the fore again,” he said, referring to the number of doping-related stories about cycling.

“Doping cases are now in the past. We have had tough controls [in the Tour] yet, most recently, there were no positive tests.”

That has now changed. The sample in question was taken on the second rest day, on the eve of his Tour-winning showdown with Andy Schleck on the slopes of the Tourmalet. Contador finished second there and effectively sealed his victory.

Earlier this year, Team RadioShack’s Fuyu Li failed a test for Clenbuterol. He was suspended on April 22nd and now faces a two year ban.

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