Astana insider claims that Contador underwent a transfusion prior to the Tour de France
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Astana insider claims that Contador underwent a transfusion prior to the Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 11:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Tour de France, Doping, Critérium du Dauphiné
Says rider used Clenbuterol after the Dauphiné to lose weight

Alberto ContadorBelgian magazine Humo has published claims from an individual with the Astana team, who alleges that Alberto Contador used Clenbuterol after the Criterium du Dauphiné as part of a weight-loss treatment. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claims that the Spaniard had blood extracted between that race and the Tour when, crucially, traces of the banned product were still in his system.

“He had a transfusion performance after the Dauphiné Libéré [Criterium du Dauphiné], and the blood still contained a little bit of clenbuterol from a just-finished slimming treatment,” Humo reported the insider as saying.

“In the Dauphiné Libéré, Contador was still a little overweight. Ordinary people do not see that, but there was still a pound or two to shed. Clenbuterol is used to get rid of the last kilos while, at the same time, to ensure that you do not lose muscle mass - or, in the best case, even gain a little extra muscle mass.”

The individual said that the substance is used in combination with the thyroid hormone T3 [Triiodothyronine], with both acting together to burn off fat.

Contador has denied all allegations that he intentionally doped, saying that the positive test for Clenbuterol came from consuming tainted steak. He has also rejected claims that he received a blood transfusion.

The Spaniard finished second overall in the Dauphiné, his final event prior to the Tour de France. He was beaten by an impressive Janez Brajkovic (Team RadioShack), who finished 1’41 ahead at the end of the event. Contador was only sixth behind Brajkovic in the time trial and was unable to drop his rival on the crucial stage to Alpe d’Huez, although he won the sprint to the line.

Contador needed to ensure that he would be at a better level in the Tour. At the time, he said that the first event would help him sharpen up for the second. Indeed, in recent years, riders who were at top strength in the Dauphiné tended to below-par in the Tour de France; those who performed better in the July event were able to improve from the their Dauphiné form rather than already being at a peak.

Contador was stronger in the Tour, while Brajkovic had an anonymous race.

The Astana insider claims that some of the improvement came about by extracting blood to use later. “In the period between the Dauphiné and the Tour, Contador drained off blood - small bags, so that the blood values are not to disrupt the biological passport. The removal happened at a time when there was a trace of clenbuterol in his blood. And that trace was in the blood in the bag, until it was later put back into his body,” he said.

He claimed that riders only transfuse 150 cc doses, approximately a third of what was thought to have been used in the past. This is done to prevent problems with the biological passport.

In recent days, Contador has faced allegations that his samples also contained plasticizers, which are regarded by some anti-doping experts as signs of illegal blood transfusions.

Contador has rejected suggestions that he has doped, saying that he is prepared to have his blood and urine samples retested. He has also said that he is willing to have them preserved until more evolved testing methods are developed.

He has never previously failed an anti-doping test, and his offer to provide samples for future testing is a significant one.

His press agent rejected claims of a transfusion this week. “This is inexact, it is false, they are unfounded allegations," Contador’s press agent Jacinto Vidarte told AFP, speaking in response to plasticizer claims printed in the New York Times.

In the NYT article, he insisted that the triple Tour winner “has done nothing illegal.” He said that there has been no official confirmation about any transfusion claims.

The rider’s brother Fran Contador echoed this “The New York Times doesn’t make any sense and all it does is interfere with the decision that has to be taken,” he told La Sexta sports. “All I know is that Alberto has done nothing illegal, didn’t do anything wrong. Everything said about the control that was made on July 21st is loose talk.

The 27 year old is an Astana rider until the end of the year. While it is unusual for someone within a team to implicate others in banned practices, there may be an element of ill feeling because of his decision to leave and go to Saxo Bank. The Humo allegations should be viewed in this light.

The full article will appear in Humo next Tuesday. It is not clear if the source quoted today is an insider or an actual rider; the story uses both terms.



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