FanDuel - WFBC

September 30, 2010

Tour De France Winner Tests Positive For Steroid: Alberto Contador joins the list of busted cheaters in cycling.

posted by TheQatarian to other at 12:09 AM - 15 comments

Bang goes one of my favourite bits of sport from 2010.

posted by JJ at 03:17 AM on September 30

"Contador said that a review of data supplied by the UCI makes it "possible to define precisely both the time of the emergence of the substance as well as the tiny amount detected, ruling out any other source or intentionality."" From VeloNews. But considering WADA nailed Floyd for the one drug he didn't do the tests cannot really be considered reliable one way or the other.

posted by apoch at 07:26 AM on September 30

It's funny how these guys keep testing positive for steroids while when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour, he never tested positive. Besides being a better cyclist, was Lance also a better cheater than all these guys?

posted by BornIcon at 07:51 AM on September 30

At least the VeloNews article explained how clenbuterol could get in meat. Apparently, it is used illegally to beef up livestock.

posted by bperk at 07:54 AM on September 30

Cycling has become one of the sporting events (like track and field and anything the East German Olympic team ever did) where I assume from the start that everyone is doping. With that as a start point...not surprising.

posted by Bonkers at 09:24 AM on September 30

It will be interesting to watch how the UCI and WADA handle this one if he truly can document the clenbuterol came from beef he ate. There have been many cases were cyclists were able to prove that their positive came from a contaminated supplement they were taking - but they all were still suspended. USADA has taken the position that it is up to the athlete to confirm that anything he ingests does not contain something on their banned list. That said, I can't recall a case where the positive was caused by something in the food they consumed. If UCI and WADA follow this guideline - Contador will be suspended for two years and his TdF win from this year will be nullified.

posted by BikeNut at 10:55 AM on September 30

Looking at this closer, the timing of the positive is troubling for Contador. Stage 17 on July 22 was the big showdown with Andy Schleck on the Tourmalet. Since clenbuterol acts as a bronchodilator, it certainly would be beneficial to have some in your system before this ride. Challenge for UCI and WADA is to determine if amounts found are due to microdosing clenbuterol in a doping program or due to contamination in food as Contador claims.

Unless Contador has some very strong evidence that it came from his steak dinner, I think he's in for a big fight.

posted by BikeNut at 11:17 AM on September 30

Curious that Conti was the only one affected by the tainted meat. Everyone else at team dinner must be a vegan.

posted by mayerkyl at 11:26 AM on September 30

mayerkyl, Contador was tested daily as leader of the TdF. Other riders are tested at random. It is very likely that none of the other riders on the team were tested for the few days it would have shown up.

posted by apoch at 11:27 AM on September 30

A vegan would be dead before week three of the Tour.

posted by JJ at 11:29 AM on September 30

Bikenut:

It will be interesting to watch how the UCI and WADA handle this one if he truly can document the clenbuterol came from beef he ate. There have been many cases were cyclists were able to prove that their positive came from a contaminated supplement they were taking - but they all were still suspended. USADA has taken the position that it is up to the athlete to confirm that anything he ingests does not contain something on their banned list. That said, I can't recall a case where the positive was caused by something in the food they consumed.

USADA and WADA are the ultimate hard-liners. They will back down their "presence=guilt" stance when Hell has a hockey rink.

(and eventually, like all inflexible organizations, they will become irrelevant...this could even be the "eventually" that does it)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:43 AM on September 30

Rant Your Head Off has some more information on the amounts involved.

posted by apoch at 02:06 PM on September 30

Thanks for the links, apoch.

Contador's defense seems plausible, but I have a couple questions. Does clenbuterol affect the body even after none remains in the system? And is it theoretically possible that some other compound could cover up or mask clenbuterol?

An estimated 50 picograms per milliliter was the highest amount detected in the tests, according to a report from Contador's legal team. It seems like that that much would not have an effect by itself, so unless he had taken more, and then (unsuccessfully) masked it with something else, I don't understand how it could have benefited him. And then this source claims, "if you want the quasi-anabolic effect from the clen, it'll take more than 2weeks." Interesting.

A vegan would be dead before week three of the Tour.

Uh, no. A low-carb dieter, however...

posted by cl at 04:00 PM on September 30

USADA and WADA are the ultimate hard-liners. They will back down their "presence=guilt" stance when Hell has a hockey rink.

(and eventually, like all inflexible organizations, they will become irrelevant...this could even be the "eventually" that does it)

Maybe you're right, but WADA oversees the testing for dozens of other sports and the Olympics and it's not like every fucking athlete is showing false positives in those sports to the degree of positive tests that are in cycling. I mean, I need an explanation of what makes cycling so special a sport that the testing for steriods is somehow prone to error.

I respect that WADA is a hardline imperfect organization - but are they honestly incompetent in finding cheaters?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:14 PM on September 30

LBB - I agree with you and that was my point. Every other athlete who has tried the "it was a contaminant in my organic supplement" defense has been shot down. And even when they had clear chemical evidence showing the contaminant in an over the counter product they bought at GNC. WADA and USADA have consistently said - if you ingest it, it is up to you to ensure it doesn't break the rules.

As an amateur racer, I find this stance harsh - it's not like I have money to pay for expensive chemical tests on everything I eat and drink. I have to rely on what the manufacturer of any supplement I take tells me (and there have been examples of reputable companies having contamination issues). But then again, I'm not trying to make a living at this, and it's not too likely someone at my level will get tested (unless you are flagrantly doping, in which case USADA will find you and make an example of you as has happened recently to several amateurs in the US).

posted by BikeNut at 10:58 PM on September 30

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