Alberto Contador Case: Table tennis player Ovtcharov cleared of Clenbuterol use
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Alberto Contador Case: Table tennis player Ovtcharov cleared of Clenbuterol use

by Shane Stokes at 8:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Decision will give Spaniard hope, but European statistics make comparisons difficult

Alberto ContadorTour de France champion Alberto Contador faces an uncertain future, but will take a little encouragement from the decision of the German table tennis federation (DTTB) to clear Dimitrij Ovtcharov of doping charges.

Ovtcharov, an Oympic silver medallist and four-time European team champion, tested positive for Clenbuterol in a sample collected on August 23rd. He claimed innocence and provided a hair sample which he said earlier this week had cleared him of wrongdoing. The German federation have agreed and indicated today that the case was closed.

Although Ovtcharov competes in a completely different sport to Contador, the Spaniard may point to the case if he undergoes a disciplinary hearing. Like Ovtcharov, he claims that his positive test was as a result of eating contaminated food.

Today’s decision is a significant one as WADA rules state that athletes are ultimately responsible for every substance which is in their bodies; in other words, that testing positive for whatever reason is punishable, even if there was no intention to cheat.

American swimmer Jessica Hardy successfully showed in 2009 that her Clenbuterol positive was as a result of a contaminated supplement. However she was still handed a one-year ban.

Providing it is not appealed by WADA, the Ovtcharov ruling could open the way for other sportspeople to claim they shouldn’t be sanctioned.

Once difference is the fact that the German claimed that his positive occurred as a result of his visit to the China Open this year, where he contends that he ate contaminated meat. There is a far higher incidence of Clenbuterol use in farming there; in Europe, the substance was banned in 1996.

According to AP, it tested 83,203 animal samples in Europe between 2008 and 2009; just one of those was positive. During the same period, Spain tested 19,431 samples in those years. No traces of the drug were found.

Contador is also facing claims that elevated levels of plasticizers were found in his sample, pointing a possible blood transfusion.

Further delays possible:

A resolution to the Contador case seems some way off , even if it is believed that the UCI will make a decision soon. If the governing body follows the DTTB decision, WADA will almost certainly appeal to CAS on the grounds that other such cases resulted in some sanctioning.

If the UCI does agree that a fault was committed, the matter then moves to the Spanish federation RFEC. Le Parisien notes that the federation is entitled wait a month before making a ruling; the UCI has another month to either accept its decision, or to appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Contador would then have the right to his own appeal with CAS, meaning that the case could drag on for many months.


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