Contador might be “innocent”

Okay … I’m not a Contador fan, and it’s doubtful I ever will be … so when I first heard the news about his positive test yesterday, part of me was overjoyed. But now more details are available; specifically the UCI release regarding the positive test, and the levels of Clenbuterol which were detected.

“The UCI confirmed today that Spanish rider Alberto Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol following the analysis of urine sample taken during an in competition test on 21st July 2010 on the second rest day of the Tour de France. This result was reported by the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne to UCI and WADA simultaneously.

“The concentration found by the laboratory was estimated at 50 picograms (or 0,000 000 000 05 grams per ml) which is 400 time less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect.”

“In view of this very small concentration and in consultation with WADA, the UCI immediately had the proper results management proceedings conducted including the analysis of B sample that confirmed the first result. The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code.

“This case required further scientific investigation before any conclusion could be drawn. The UCI continues working with the scientific support of WADA to analyse all the elements that are relevant to the case. This further investigation may take some more time.

“In order to protect the integrity of the proceedings and in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI will refrain from making any further comments until the management of this adverse analytical finding has been completed.”

via Alberto Contador Suspended Over Traces Of Clenbuterol From Tour De France Test | Cyclingnews.com.

So in order to be accredited, the lab must be able to detect 20 nanograms per milliliter, already an amazingly small amount, and in this case the amount detected was 400 times less than that. An amount that small, on the rest day, with no detection either the day before or the day after the positive test?

This definitely leads me to think that a case of accidental ingestion due to contamination is possible, and certainly that there was no benefit to performance gained.

As much as it pains me to admit it, I’m inclined to let it slide in this case …

3 Comments

  1. yep that is where i am. I am not a fan but it looks like he may be telling the truth. But as you previously posted each rider is responsible for what they intake accidental or not. I hope it was accidental and he can be cleared. The sport doesn’t need another big hit.

  2. First – how does an asthma drug end up in your food? It doesn’t. That excuse is hogwash.

    Second – the half-life of clenbuterol is extremely short. This means he could be taking it every single day and, depending on when the test is taken, it may or may not be detected. Thus, the excuse of “levels were very small” doesn’t hold any water with me.

    Third – the drug is very dangerous with many dangerous side-effects, which is why it is illegal in the U.S. Even physician’s in Europe would prescribe a safer, alternative drug to clenbuterol whenever possible because of this. ESPECIALLY if their patient is an athlete because of the well-known properties the drug has of building muscle and reducing adipose tissue. There is a HUGE black-market in clenbuterol and none of the “users” are asthmatics. They are all athletes.

    Most likely scenario? He’s on it, along with thousands more athletes all over the world.

    1. Clenbuterol has a long history of use in cattle, generally illegally, to produce leaner meat.

      It is approved in the US for horses with respiratory ailments, but is often used illegally in show cattle, and in Europe it’s approved for “non-food” cattle, but is often illegally used to increase lean meat in calves being used for veal and in general.

      There may be a huge black-market in clenbuterol in athletes, but there is also a huge black-market in clenbuterol by cattle producers.

      Contadouche may very well be a cheater, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. In this particular case, based on the evidence available thus far, I have doubt … and unlike WADA, I think there should be some presumption of innocence.

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