Saxo Bank-SunGard reacts to “Scandal Journalism” over Alberto Contador case
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saxo Bank-SunGard reacts to “Scandal Journalism” over Alberto Contador case

by Ben Atkins at 9:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
Danish team describes latest Marca story as “old wine in new bottles”

alberto contadorThe Saxo Bank-SunGard team has reacted angrily to the latest media reports about the case of its provisionally suspended rider Alberto Contador. The latest details to emerge have been that the Spanish rider tested positive for banned substance clenbuterol on four occasions during the latter stages of last year’s Tour de France, when he was riding for the Astana team, and not two as previously thought.

The timing of the story, and the fact that the team sees there to be little new evidence, has caused Saxo Bank-SunGard to speak out.

“When one also takes the timing of the story into account,” said the team’s chief press officer Anders Damgaard to Sporten.dk, “I think we are close to pure scandal journalism. It is certainly hard not to get the idea that this is a smear campaign, while the case is still running.”

For this reason, Damsgaard says, the stories that have been broken in the Spanish media – and repeated all over the World, including here on VeloNation – don’t actually say anything new.

“I don’t understand it at all, how it can be sold as a novelty and a cover story,” he said. “On September 30th last year Alberto Contador confirmed his positive sample at a press conference, and on the same day – the very same day – we published the information here.”

For there to be subsequent positive tests is to be expected, with the trace becoming smaller and smaller until it disappears.

“In other words,” explained Damgaard, “[Contador has said] that his test from the trip's second rest day showed a content of 50 picograms of clenbuterol [per millilitre – Ed], and that there were lower traceable residues in the following three days. He also announced that his tests from the day before the rest day, does not show anything."

Contador tested positive with 50 picograms of clenbuterol per millilitre on July 21st, the Tour’s second rest day; his subsequent samples contained 16 picograms on July 22nd, after the stage to the Col du Tourmalet; the new data reported by Marca is that he also was positive for 7 picograms on July 24th, after the Bordeaux to Pauillac time trial, and 17 on July 25th, after the race had ended in Paris.

This is to be expected, says Damsgaard.

“I believe that, among others, Alberto Contador’s own expert Douwe de Boer has previously explained why there will be traces of the substance on four days in a row.

“It is old wine in new bottles,” he added.

The larger trace followed by a number of smaller ones is to be expected, Damgaard reiterated, as the rider’s body cleared the substance from his system.

“Back in September last year,” he emphasised, “experts also pointed out that such a pattern is a normal expression of the fact that a substance will reduced gradually in the body when it is separated.

“So it seems to me that it’s simply absurd to talk about four stand-alone, positive samples,” he concluded. “They obviously have a context.”

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