Contador Investigation: WADA chief Howman satisfied thus far with the UCI’s results management of case
  April 18, 2024 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Monday, October 4, 2010

Contador Investigation: WADA chief Howman satisfied thus far with the UCI’s results management of case

by Shane Stokes at 7:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Questions raised by others about meat defense for Clenbuterol

David HowmanThe World Anti Doping Agency WADA has said that it is in communication with the UCI over the Alberto Contador investigation and has said that it is satisfied thus far with the way that things have been conducted.

“WADA has been kept informed by the UCI of the management of this case,” WADA Director General David Howman told VeloNation. “Under the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA has the right to appeal a case directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if an anti-doping organization fails to render a timely decision.

“However, in this case, we have been satisfied to date with how results management is progressing.”

Concerns were raised in recent days when the rider told TV2 Sport that the UCI had told him to keep quiet about his positive test for minute traces of Clenbuterol. “The UCI has always asked me not to tell this to anyone,” Contador told TV2 Sport. “[The reason was] so it could be resolved in the best way. For it was not a positive event, but a very detailed matter that requires very detailed analysis.”

This led to suggestions of a cover-up. However Howman’s response to a question about this verifies that WADA has indeed been involved in the process, although he didn’t indicate when the agency was first informed.

Last Wednesday, Contador’s press agent released the news of the rider’s positive test for Clenbuterol, issuing a statement. In it, he said that the test in question was carried out on the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France, and that contaminated meat was the source for the traces of the drug.

It is thought that the German TV station ARD’s investigation into the issue may have prompted the sudden disclosure that an investigation was being conducted into the triple Tour winner.

Several hours later the sport’s governing body said that it was looking into the matter, and that it was cooperating with WADA. “The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time,” the statement read.

WADA verified this cooperation to VeloNation. “WADA can confirm that, upon request from the UCI, it is providing scientific support to the UCI to analyse the elements that are relevant to the case,” a spokesperson said last week.

However there are unconfirmed reports of tensions between the UCI and WADA over the issue. The Spanish newspaper El Pais claimed over the weekend that the rider had been set to be given just a three month suspension by the UCI prior to the announcement of the ongoing investigation. WADA is thought to be less than happy about this, given that the substance in question normally leads to a two year ban.

This sanction can be shortened if it is proven that the consumption was unintentional. That said, three months is far shorter than the one year ban that was handed to the swimmer Jessica Hardy after her 2008 positive test for Clenbuterol-contaminated substances.

Questions raised about meat defence:

Meanwhile more details have emerged about the progress of efforts being made to prove that contaminated steak was indeed the reason for the positive test. Contador has said that the meat in question was bought in a butchers in Irun in Spain, and taken across the border by his friend Jose Luis Lopez Cerron. He told Spanish TV station TeleMadrid that they have samples from the same butcher and are investigating further.

"We've even been back to the same shop in Irun where the meat was originally bought, bought some more and taken it to a lab for analysis."

"The problem is that not all the meat comes from the same place and the labs are normally not as specialized as the ones that carry out anti-doping investigations. As is well known only four labs in the world can detect the amount of clenbuterol that was discovered in my system."

However, according to the New York Times, an expert in the field of Clenbuterol contamination has said that he is very sceptical that the positive test could be due to meat, unless the rider ate the liver of the animal in question.

Frenando Ramos, who is a professor at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and who has studied this subject for two decades, spoke to the paper. He noted that that the concentration would have to be so high that the animal would have died before being slaughtered.

“I can say 99 percent, it’s impossible,” he said, when asked if meat could be the source of the contamination.

De Telegraaf's Telesport has also cast doubts on the story, pointing out that the Astana chef Paco Olalla had previously spoken about his role with the team and said that he bought meat in France. Olalla was quoted on July 23rd in an article on as saying that the quality of the meat in the hotel was bad, and that he had gone to a market in Pau to buy more.

However Telesport may have got an important detail wrong; the date. The team stayed there on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of July. In the article, Ollala refers to the beef tenderloin, the baked potatoes and pasta he bought in Pau as being ‘the ideal menu to recover from the battle of the Tourmalet.’ That suggests the meal in question took place on the 22nd, the evening of that stage, and thus one day after the positive test.

What the piece does confirm is that claim that the teams were not allowed access to the kitchen. “I’ve managed in a van, with a stove and microwave,” said Ollala, having been blocked by the hotel Novotel in Lescare from using its facilities.

Contador has insisted he is innocent, fighting back against media claims that his samples may also have shown evidence of blood transfusions. He promised complete transparency in the efforts to clear his name, saying he would do what it takes to show he won the race clean.

"If they want to test every sample I've given in the Tour, [in] as many different laboratories as they want, or if they want to freeze it for three or five years until other future tests are scientifically validated and then check it, they can do it. I have nothing to hide,” he told Reuters.

Such an offer would normally be considered a significant one, given the level of scrutiny involved. If it’s followed through and everything is clear, it would be the best avenue for him to show that he has nothing to hide.


Subscribe via RSS or daily email

  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC