UCI says Alberto Contador's Tour de France doping positive requires further scientific investigation
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UCI says Alberto Contador's Tour de France doping positive requires further scientific investigation

by VeloNation Press at 10:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Expert says meat likely cause of the positive result

Pat McQuaidThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed today in a press release that Spaniard Alberto Contador has returned an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of a urine sample taken on July 21st, during the second rest day of the Tour de France, and just days before securing his third overall victory in the race.  Contador's positive result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to both the UCI and WADA simultaneously.

The sport's governing body stated that the concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml), which is 400 times less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA are required to detect.

Both Contador's A and B samples have tested positive for the substance, and the UCI clarified their stance on the situation.

"In view of this very small concentration and in consultation with WADA, the UCI immediately had the proper results management proceedings conducted including the analysis of the B sample that confirmed the first result," the statement said.  "The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code."

While Contador has been suspended, the UCI confirmed that the case required further scientific investigation before a conclusion could be drawn.  The sport's governing body acknowledged that they will be working the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case, and added that the investigation will take more time.

The statement continued: "In order to protect the integrity of the proceedings and in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI will refrain from making any further comments until the management of this adverse analytical finding has been completed."

Contador has scheduled a press conference on September 30 at 12:00 p.m. in Pinto, Spain to further explain the situation.  He points out an opinion from Dutchman Dr. Douwe de Boer that suggests that the Tour winner might have accidentally ingested Clenbuterol by eating contaminated meat, and argues that the timing of the detection shows that the Spaniard could not have received a performance enhancement from the drug.

The major points brought up by Dr. de Boer's opinion are as follows:

  • Alberto Contador underwent sport drug testing during many days of the 2010 Tour de France, including July 19, 20, 21, and 22. 
  • No Clenbuterol was detected in any of the tests prior to July 21. 
  • An extremely low trace concentration of Clenbuterol was found in the urine sample taken on July 21; the concentration found in the urine sample taken on July 22 was even lower. 
  • The half-life of Clenbuterol is 25-39 hours. 
  • These facts show that Clenbuterol was ingested after the urine testing on July 20 in an amount that could have never enhanced his performance. 
  • There are numerous documented cases of humans ingesting Clenbuterol accidentally by eating meat from animals that have been fed the substance to stimulate growth.

Read Dr. Douwe de Boer's full opinion on the Contador case


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