Basque Directorate General of Health doubts Contador’s claims that meat caused positive test for Clenbuterol
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Basque Directorate General of Health doubts Contador’s claims that meat caused positive test for Clenbuterol

by Shane Stokes at 10:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Investigation being carried out, Rubiera suggests alternative source for substance

Alberto ContadorFollowing yesterday’s news that Spain’s main association of beef cattle producers (ASOPROVAC) has called for an investigation into Alberto Contador’s insistence that he tested positive for Clenbuterol because he ate contaminated meat, it has been confirmed that a department of the Basque Government is currently looking into the claims.

The Directorate General of Health of the Basque government appears to be sceptical about Contador’s explanation, telling the AS newspaper that both the butcher that sold the product and the ranch that supplied it had been identified. “We never had problems with either the ranch nor the butcher,” said Jose Blanco, head of the Basque organisation’s press agency. “They have always passed the controls without problems.”

He said that he considered it was, “highly unlikely that contamination has occurred. Our controls are very rigid.”

Under the WADA Code, the onus is on the athlete to prove how the substance in question got into his or her system. Contador is seeking to prove he tested positive through no fault of his own but to do that, he needs to show beyond doubt that the Clenbuterol was accidentally ingested.

Blanco said that it was now impossible to prove that the steak was the source. “There is no possibility to analyse the meat. No sample of the batch has been retained,” he said.

He was also asked who had commissioned the investigation; he declined to name the persons or bodies concerned, stating simply that “there are several interested parties.”

Meanwhile Contador’s compatriot and former team-mate Jose Luis Rubiera has said that he believes meat is not the only possible source.

Speaking to the El Pedal de Frodo site (and reported by the Contador Notebook webpage), he floated the possibility that it could have entered his system in another manner. “About the meat—I think that he believes it, but I can understand that it may not sound believable to people,” he said.

“Sometimes at the finish line we take proteins and amino acids, and in my opinion it may be this type of contamination, although it’s also possible that it could’ve come from the meat. I don't imagine that he would've drunk water handed over by some spectator.

He said that he was convinced that Contador didn’t ingest the substance voluntarily, and that the levels were so low that he didn’t consider a sanction justified.

“Although it also seems unfair that he be treated one way and other people in another. I think that the UCI should consider that if someone now is serving a penalty for small amounts of substances, a limit should be set under which there is no influence on performance, and where there is no punishment. What’s the influence of 50 picograms on performance?”

Contador has never suggested a source other than the meat he ate while staying in Pau. Some sceptics have claimed the levels in his system could have originated from a transfusion of blood from a training period when Clenbuterol was taken intentionally; the rider and his representatives deny this and insist that he has never doped.

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